STOCKTON HEAT (10-13-1) vs BELLEVILLE SENATORS (9-12-1)
2 p.m. MT | 1 p.m. PT | BROADCAST: AHLTV
Points – Adam Ruzicka/Matthew Phillips (19)
Goals – Adam Ruzicka (10)
Points – Vitaly Abramov (17)
Goals – Egor Sokolov (11)
PP – 18-for-82, 22.4% (7th)/PK – 66-for-85, 77.6% (23rd)
PP – 16-for-78, 20.5% (11th)/PK – 75-for-91, 82.4% (10th)
1. HEAT INDEX
Stockton will look to finish strong in the home finale Saturday at the Saddledome, a 2 p.m. MT, 1 p.m. PT puck drop.
The Heat enter the final game at their home away from home on the heels of back-to-back 4-2 losses at the hands of the Belleville Senators and will aim to earn a season series split against Ottawa’s AHL affiliate.
In Thursday’s battle, the Heat conceded a pair of goals near the midway point of the opening frame, then went down 3-0 in the second before Dmitry Zavgorodniy extended his scoring streak to three games with his first pro goal, trimming the deficit before Belleville answered less than a minute later to stretch the lead back to three. Glenn Gawdin netted the only score of the third, a power play marker to produce the 4-2 final.
“It’s tough to swallow, our first period as a whole,” said Cail MacLean. “It was a tough game tonight for our guys to get their game on track.”
Following Saturday’s contest, the Heat will conclude their 30-game regular season slate with five road contests against the Manitoba Moose.
2. THIS, THAT, THE OTHER
THIS… The Heat have been solid at leaving opponents with bitter tastes in their mouths to end series, Stockton entering today’s game 5-3-0 on the year in games before moving on to new opponents. The Heat are 2-0 in such games against Belleville with 4-1 and 7-1 wins earlier in the season. THAT… Garret Sparks had a rough outing on Thursday, but he has been otherwise solid following losses this season. Prior to his latest outing, Sparks sported a .928 Save Percentage. After Thursday’s outing, that mark is .910 SVP on the heels of setbacks. THE OTHER… Yan Kuznetsov may make his Saddledome and professional debut in today’s matinee, the rookie forward having cleared quarantine and skated in warm-up prior to Thursday’s game. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound blue-liner was Calgary’s second round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft and recently completed his collegiate career at the University of Connecticut. Kuznetsov also represented Russia at World Juniors before turning pro.
3. PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Dmitry Zavgorodniy
When you’re hot, you’re hot, and Zavgorodniy has certainly earned his time in the spotlight. The rookie rides a three-game scoring streak into this afternoon’s contest after potting his first pro goal Thursday.
Senators – Egor Sokolov
Sokolov punctuated the scoring for the Senators in Thursday’s contest, nipping a Stockton comeback effort in the bud just 34 seconds after Zavgorodniy’s score. He’s tied with Vitaly Abramov atop Belleville’s roster with four points against the Heat in the season series.
4. UPCOMING MILESTONES
- Byron Froese is one goal away from 100 in his AHL career
- Glenn Gawdin is three points away from 100 in his AHL career
- Luke Philp is three points away from 50 in his AHL career
“He’s got to make sure he’s dialed in in his battles, he’s dialed in his compete, he’s dialed in in his intensity and his responsibilities off of faceoffs. I think he’s made some strides there. He logs a ton of minutes and he does affect our game really positively.” – Cail MacLean on Glenn Gawdin’s impact