HEAT (21-7-2-3) at BARRACUDA (12-18-0-2)
1:15 p.m. | AHLTV | Spreaker | iHeartRadio
2019-20 Season Series: 6-0-0-0
2019-20 Heat Road Record: 12-3-0-2
2019-20 Barracuda Home Record: 7-10-0-0
Power Play – 34-for-126 (27.0%); 1st
Penalty Kill – 125-for-145 (86.2%); 3rd
Power Play – 24-for-129 (18.6%); 16th
Penalty Kill – 98-for-124 (79%); 27th
2019-20 Leading Scorers
Points – Gawdin (35)
Goals – Robinson, Philp (15)
Points – Letunov (26)
Goals – Blichfeld (13)
The Stockton Heat come into Saturday’s game fresh off a four-game homestand, earning six of a possible eight points. The four game stretch began with a a 4-0 shutout win over San Jose on New Year’s Eve and finished on Wednesday with a comeback win over Bakersfield. The Heat allowed just seven goals over the four-game span at Stockton Arena. Jon Gillies, who is playing his best hockey of the season, earned all three of the wins for Stockton in between the pipes. A weekend series with San Jose is a welcomed sight for the Heat who are a perfect 6-0 against the San Jose Barracuda this season.
San Jose enters tonight riding a two-game win streak, including a 9-1 win on home ice Wednesday night over Ontario. This is now the second time this season San Jose has scored nine goals in a game, both coming against the Ontario Reign. Highlighted by a five-goal second period, San Jose managed to kick three field goals over Ontario en route to tying a season-long, two-game win streak. The Barracuda have scored 14 goals over the last two games and have turned a corner after dropping seven of their eight prior games. The Barracuda’s 30th ranked AHL win percentage of .406 is largely in part to their 0-6 record against Stockton. San Jose’s record against teams not affiliated with the Calgary Flames is 12-12-0-2.
US VS. THEM
Stockton continues to dominate San Jose in the season series, cruising to victories in the team’s first six games against the San Jose Sharks’ top affiliate. Defensively Stockton has allowed just nine goals in the six games against San Jose this season. Prior to this season, San Jose dominated the all-time series, including a 10-win season last year over the Heat. What a difference a year can make for Stockton. The Heat have outplayed San Jose in all areas this season, outscoring the Barracuda 26-9, including a plus-14 margin in the last three games. The most recent meeting at the SAP Center tied a season-high eight goals in the 8-1 victory in the first game back from the Christmas break.
Just one game shy of the season’s halfway marker, the story for Stockton remains their top ranked offense in the AHL. The emerging headliner over the last few weeks for Stockton is their strong goaltending and timely penalty kill. Since returning from the holiday break the Heat have allowed just 12 goals in six games. Despite allowing two power play goals on Wednesday night, the Heat penalty kill continues to be a difference maker, particularly against San Jose, killing off 29 of the 31 chances (93.5%). Offensively the Heat continue to receive scoring contributions from all up and down the lineup, featuring 13 goal scorers since returning from the holiday break.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Jon Gillies
Should Jon Gillies make his 18th appearance of the season, he is Stockton’s player to watch. However, today’s player to watch could simply be the Stockton goaltender. Netminders for Stockton this season have surrendered just nine goals in six games this season. Gillies, specifically, has been remarkable against San Jose, posting a 4-0 record along with a 1.23 goals against average and a .963 save percentage.
Barracuda – Dylan Gambrell
The 23-year-old forward scored his first AHL goal of the season on Wednesday in his eighth game of the year with the Barracuda. The highly touted Sharks prospect recorded his first four-point game of his professional career in Wednesday’s 9-1 win over Ontario. Gambrell is just one season removed from his 20 goal campaign in his rookie year.