HEAT (28-13-3-3) vs. GULLS (23-17-5-2)
7:00 p.m. PST | AHLTV | Spreaker | iHeartRadio | Fox Sports Radio
2019-20 Season Series: 5-1-0-1
2019-20 Heat Road Record: 15-6-0-2
2019-20 Gulls Home Record: 13-8-3-2
Power Play – 45-for-173 (26.0%); 2nd
Penalty Kill – 171-for-195 (87.7%); 2nd
Power Play – 30-for-195 (15.4%); 24th
Penalty Kill – 152-for-180 (84.4%); 9th
2019-20 Leading Scorers
Points – Quine (45)
Goals – Froese (18)
Points – Carrick (34)
Goals – Carrick (19)
The Heat have regained their mojo heading into a critical road trip as Stockton looks to gain further separation from fifth and regain the top spot in the Pacific Division for the first time since November 8 Wednesday night at San Diego. Stockton looks to push its win streak to three games on Wednesday, coming off back-to-back wins over Tucson and San Diego to wrap a four-games-in-six-days sprint last week, a stretch in which the Heat earned six of a possible eight points. In Monday’s game against the Gulls, Stockton got strong contributions from depth scoring options, getting goals from Corey Schueneman, John McCarron and Rob Hamilton in the 3-2 overtime win. All three of the victories over the last week required play past regulation, a shootout win sandwiched by a pair of OT victories.
San Diego has been pushing to gain a spot in the Pacific Division’s top four, the Gulls earning points in nine of their last 10 games – including three points in their last two contests. San Diego kick-started its playoff push on January 10, a win over the Iowa Wild snapping a five-game skid to begin a stretch of 11 wins and 14 games recording points in a span of 16 contests. The Gulls, who got goals from Alex Broadhurst and Maxime Comtois to erase a two-goal deficit in the third period Monday, look to push their home point streak to five games on Wednesday. The Gulls have gone without a power play goal against Stockton over their last eight chances, spanning two games, but have been nearly twice as effective on home ice as opposed to road games – coming into tonight’s contest at 20-for-102, 14th-best in the AHL, at Pechanga Arena compared to 10-for-93, 28th in the league, in away games.
US VS. THEM
The Heat should feel confident heading to San Diego, coming into tonight’s game with a 5-1-0-1 record against the Gulls and points in their last seven trips to Pechanga Arena, a span that began on October 26, 2018 – a 5-4 shootout win. Stockton has outscored the Gulls by a 27-18 margin this season, including an aggregate of 12-6 at Pechanga Arena on the year. Much of Stockton’s success against San Diego this season has been driven by the special teams battle, the Heat scoring six times on 22 power play opportunities while limiting the Gulls to just 1-for-24 on the man-advantage. The Heat are paced by captain Byron Froese with eight points (4g,4a) through the first seven games of the season series and have had eight players reach five or more points against the Gulls on the year.
Everybody’s pitching in, and that’s a welcome sign for Stockton. The team’s depth has taken a hit with a flurry of NHL recalls to Calgary, recent transactions including forwards Buddy Robinson and Glenn Gawdin as well as defensemen Brandon Davidson and Alexander Yelesin. Over the small stretch of back-to-back wins, goals have come from a trio of defensemen – Rob Hamilton, Zac Leslie and Corey Schueneman – as well as rookie forward Adam Ruzicka and veteran John McCarron, who has skated in two of three games with Stockton since joining the club on a PTO. The secondary scoring has provided a big boost after the load had been carried by Austin Czarnik, Byron Froese and Alan Quine for a stretch.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Matthew Phillips
Phillips has skated in the last two games for the Heat following recovery from a lower body injury, and as he continues to acclimate to game action he becomes a prime scoring threat to add to Stockton’s arsenal. Even with the missed time that spanned between December 28 until Saturday, Phillips ranks fourth on the roster with 31 points. He has seven points (2g,5a) in six games against San Diego this season, including an assist in Monday’s win.
Gulls – Maxime Comtois
The Ducks prospect has found the back of the net in back-to-back games for the second time in his professional career, first time in 21 AHL games. The forward has two points in two games against Stockton this season and looks to continue providing added production for the upstart Gulls.