HEAT (7-1-1-1) at ROADRUNNERS (8-3-0-0)
2019-20 Season Series: 0-0-1-0
2019-20 Heat Road Record: 5-0-0-0
2019-20 Roadrunners Home Record: 4-2-0-0
2019-20 Leading Scorers:
Points – Froese/Davidson (10)
Goals – Robinson (8)
Points – Pederson (14)
Goals – Pederson (9)
The Stockton Heat put a six-game point streak on the line with tonight’s contest, entering 4-0-1-1 in that span. Stockton is the final remaining team in the AHL with an unbeaten road record, coming into the Friday night divisional contest with a 5-0 mark on the campaign. The Heat will also seek to continue the positive trend of responding from losses so far this year, coming into the game 2-0 following setbacks with a combined score of 11-4.
Tucson returns home following a successful California road trip last weekend in which the Arizona Coyotes’ AHL affiliate took four of a possible four points with an overtime win over Stockton on Saturday followed by a 5-3 win Sunday over San Jose. Tonight’s game will be the Roadrunners’ seventh home game of the campaign, most in the Pacific Division in the early running.
US vs. THEM
Stockton and Tucson have faced off only once before this season, Saturday’s overtime decision that did not go without some controversy. The Heat appeared to jump on top 4-3 late in the third period with a shorthanded goal by Glenn Gawdin, signaled goal on the ice before being overturned due to goalie interference. Last year, the Heat and Roadrunners split the season series 2-2 at the Tucson Convention Center.
Stockton has registered a special teams goal in all 10 games this season while boasting the Pacific Division’s best power play (26.8-percent) and penalty kill (84.9-percent) and tied for the division lead in shorthanded goals with two. Last time out, Buddy Robinson popped in a power play goal but it was the Roadrunners who got the better of the special teams play, scoring twice on the power play and once shorthanded in the road win.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Matthew Phillips
Phillips has gotten off to a hot start this season with eight points on the campaign but saw his streak of six points in six games (1g,5a) snapped in Saturday’s showdown with Tucson. The sophomore forward led the way for the Heat against the Roadrunners a year ago, finishing the season series with a team-best eight points (3g,5a) in eight games. It was Phillips, then a rookie, who spurred Stockton to a come-from-behind win in the final meeting between the clubs in Tucson last season with a three-point effort, two goals and a helper all coming in the final 28:11 of game time en route to a 3-2 win.
Roadrunners – Lane Pederson
The leading scorer for Tucson is tied for third in the AHL with 14 points on the season and already has five multi-point games on the year, including last Saturday’s meeting with Stockton. Pederson, like Phillips, operated at a point-per-game clip in the season series with eight points (4g,4a) in the eight games played between the Pacific Division foes. Pederson recorded a pair of assists on Saturday against the Heat, coming on the final two goals of the game for the Roadrunners to go up 3-2 in the second period and the decisive score in overtime. Pederson enters tonight’s game third in the AHL with nine goals on the young season.