Matchup: Lodi Crushers (29-15-4-3; 2nd Pacific) vs. Iowa Wild (35-16-3-3; 2nd Central)
Arena: Stockton Arena | Stockton, California
Date: Saturday, February 29, 2020
Time: 6:00 p.m. PST
Broadcast: Watch tonight’s game on AHLTV or hear Lodi’s radio call on Spreaker and iHeartRadio.
Join the Conversation: For live, in-game tweets, follow the Heat on Twitter. Join the conversation by replying to our updates or using the hashtag #LODIvsIA.
Chase Chevrolet Big Moment of the Game: Stay tuned on Twitter following the game for a chance to enter to win a puck signed by Tyler Parsons with our Chase Chevrolet Big Moment of the Game selection!
The Crushers look to bounce back from a Friday night contest in which Lodi fell 4-2 to San Diego, giving the Gulls nine power plays and killing seven on the night. Both of Lodi’s goals came on special teams, Luke Philp connecting on the power play and Eetu Tuulola scoring shorthanded.
The Crushers look to solve the Iowa Wild puzzle for the first time this season as Lodi aims to continue pushing through a crowded divisional field in the playoff race. The Crushers are just two points shy of first-place Tucson but are only four points clear of fifth-place San Diego entering Saturday’s action.
PHILP TIED FOR FIRST
Rookie forward Luke Philp got the scoring started in Friday’s game, sending a shot from the slot to the back of the net on the power play in the opening frame. The score brought Philp’s total to 18 goals for the season, bringing him to a tie with team captain Byron Froese. The forward now has points in four of Lodi’s last five games entering Saturday’s contest.
SPECIAL TEAMS SCORES
Lodi netted a pair of special teams goals on Friday, Philp’s coming on the power play and Eetu Tuulola on the kill. The Crushers, who entered the game with the AHL’s top-ranked penalty kill, conceded twice to San Diego but used the shorthanded goal to play to a draw on special teams in the divisional bout.
TUULOLA TALLYING POINTS
Eetu Tuulola’s goal Friday just 29 seconds into the third period was his first shorthanded goal of his career. The forward, who now has 19 points (8g,11a) in 46 games, has found his way onto the score sheet in five of his last six games played and will look to get on the board against Iowa for the first time this season.
INTO THE WILD
Iowa has won the first three meetings of the season series, earning an overtime win at Stockton Arena on December 18 and holding serve on home ice earlier in February. Iowa has outscored Lodi 16-9 in those games, but the Wild come to Stockton without Gerry Mayhew who has accounted for four goals and four assists in the first three games of the season set. The special teams play has been explosive thus far between the teams, Lodi going 3-for-11 on the power play while Iowa has converted on four of nine chances on the man-advantage.
The Pacific Division is the tightest race in the AHL as the playoff race hits fever pitch, five teams all within six points while trying to land a spot in the top four at the end of the regular season. The Crushers find themselves in second in the divisional ladder, trailing Tucson by two points and leading fifth-place San Diego by four. Colorado, one point back of Lodi, and Ontario, three points behind the Crushers, are also battling to a playoff berth.