HEAT (17-5-2-3) vs. BARRACUDA (10-14-0-2)
1:15 p.m. | AHLTV | Spreaker | iHeartRadio | Fox Sports Radio 1280
2019-20 Season Series: 4-0-0-0
2019-20 Heat Road Record: 11-2-0-2
2019-20 Barracuda Home Record: 6-8-0-0
Power Play – 29-for-106 (27.4%); 1st
Penalty Kill – 106-for-121 (87.6%); 2nd
Power Play – 18-for-102 (17.6%); 16th
Penalty Kill – 77-for-101 (76.2%); 31st
2019-20 Leading Scorers
Points – Phillips (29)
Goals – Philp, Phillips (13)
Points – Blichfeld (22)
Goals – Blichfeld (11)
Stockton has continued to pile on the points in the month of December, earning points in six straight games (4-0-1-1). Stockton dropped back to back games before the Christmas break, including a 4-3 shootout loss in San Diego last Saturday night. With the point on Saturday, Stockton is now 8-0-0-1 in nine road games inside the state of California. Matthew Phillips and Glenn Gawdin continue to lead the way for Stockton in their second seasons. Phillips leads the team with 29 points, including 13 goals, which matches his rookie season total. Gawdin is tied for the team lead with 17 assists and leads all Heat skaters with 13 power play points. Gawdin and Phillips both scored last Saturday, continuing the impressive streak where neither player has been held pointless in back-to-back games to start the season.
San Jose sits at the bottom of the Pacific division coming into the post-Christmas portion of the schedule, with 22 points in 26 games. The Barracuda won 4-2 over San Diego last Friday in their final game before the holiday break. Last Saturday’s victory snapped a three-game losing skid, including a pair of losses to Stockton on December 14th and 15th. Wins have been difficult to come by for San Jose, specifically when games are close. In 16 games this season decided by three goals or less, San Jose has just three wins in 16 games. Despite Stockton’s dominance over San Jose this season, the Barracuda have managed to keep it close, falling on the wrong side of three, one-goal decisions.
US VS. THEM
Stockton has owned San Jose’s number this season, earning four consecutive victories to start the season series. Stockton earned just two victories in 12 games last season against their Northern California rivals. Stockton’s dominance starts with the penalty kill, limiting San Jose to just one power play goal on 21 attempts through four games. On the other side of the ice, Stockton is five for 15 on the man advantage. Additionally, strong goaltending has anchored Stockton’s success this season, allowing just eight goals in four games. Jon Gillies is 2-0 with a .951 save percentage and Artyom Zagidulin also boasts two victories, posting a .926 save percentage.
Stockton has the best special teams tandem in the league, ranking first in the AHL on the power play and second on the penalty kill. During the six-game point streak Stockton is 7-19 on the power play, with man-advantage goals in all six contests. Stockton is 14-3-2-1 when scoring on the power play and 10-2-1-0 when outscoring the opposition in special teams. The penalty kill continues to impress of late, operating at 88% during the point streak.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Austin Czarnik
Stockton’s newest forward scored a goal and an assist in the 4-3 shootout loss on Saturday in San Diego. Czarnik now has four games under his belt with Stockton, including three from his conditioning stint earlier this month. Czarnik comes into today’s game riding a three-game point streak, featuring goals in back-to-back games.
Barracuda – Maxim Letunov
In his second pro season, Letunov is just a shade under a point per game pace, scoring seven goals and 21 points in 25 games. The Russian centerman is sitting on 49 career points entering today’s matinee matchup. Despite offensive struggles for San Jose in the season series, Letunov has been productive offensively, registering three points and two goals, to lead all Barracuda skaters.