STOCKTON HEAT (16-2-2-1) vs COLORADO EAGLES (10-9-1-2)
7:00 p.m. PST | Broadcast: AHLTV, KFIV 1360, Spreaker
Goals – Adam Ruzicka (10)
Points – Jakob Pelletier (25)
Goals – Kiefer Sherwood (9)
Points – Kiefer Sherwood/Dylan Sikura/Jordan Gross (18)
PP – 18-for-86, 20.9% (6th)/PK – 79-for-88, 89.8% (1st)
PP – 20-for-107, 18.7% (19th)/PK – 72-for-92 (78.3%; 26th)
1. HEAT INDEX
The weather’s getting colder but the Heat are staying red hot, Stockton entering tonight’s game on the heels of a 2-1 win over Bakersfield Wednesday at Stockton Arena. The Heat scored first, Andy Welinski finding the back of the net for the first time this season with a seeing-eye shot from the point, giving Stockton a 1-0 edge and their lone score of regulation. The home team then won in a shootout, Justin Kirkland and Glenn Gawdin each scoring on their chances while Dustin Wolf slammed the door with a pair of stops.
2. THIS, THAT, THE OTHER
THIS… Stockton has grown accustomed to playing with the early lead and holding onto it this season, with the Heat scoring first 13 times and owning a record of 12-0-1-0 in those games. Colorado, meanwhile, has gained a 1-0 edge only nine times in 22 games this season and have gone 5-4-0-0 in such contests. Stockton won the lone game between the clubs in which they scored first, while the teams have split the games in which the Eagles drew first blood. THAT… The most recent contest for each of tonight’s combatants could not have been more different. The Heat, at home, earned a 2-1 shootout win in a defensive battle while the Eagles lost on the road, surrendering double-digits in a 10-5 setback at San Jose. On the year, the Heat rank third in goals for per game, second in goals against per game, while the Eagles rank ninth in scoring and 21st defensively. THE OTHER… With Dustin Wolf penciled in to start once again for the Heat, it’s worth taking yet another look at the goalie’s steadily stellar play since making his AHL debut in the 2020-21 season. He’s played 16 games and won 14 of them, with the other two going to overtime. He has a .943 Save Percentage and 1.79 Goal Against Average over that span and has won his last seven games. He leads the AHL in wins, is second in SVP and third in GAA on the season.
3. PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Jakob Pelletier
The rookie has hit his first ‘cold’ streak, going scoreless in back-to-back games for the first time in his professional career. He’s operating at a point-per-game pace with a goal and two assists in three games against the Eagles this season.
Eagles – Kiefer Sherwood
Colorado’s leading scorer brings a four-game scoring streak (2g, 5a) into tonight’s game and has two points – a goal and an assist – in two games against the Heat on the year.
4. MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- Kevin Gravel is one goal shy of 20 in his AHL career.
- Matthew Phillips is four goals shy of 50 in his AHL career.
“I’ve always been process-oriented. Did we win that day? Whether it’s a practice, a recovery day, a team workout, where’s our team game at? I find if you put that cart ahead of the horse in this business you’re going to be chasing yourself, chasing your team. We really focus in on what are the objectives that day? It fits the development piece – you can’t get to the National Hockey League if you don’t go through steps through this league and what you need to do to improve yourself as a player or coach. That’s been our messaging, right from day one. That’ll be a continued message throughout the hockey season.” – Mitch Love on the team’s mindset with 16 wins in their first 21 games