HEAT (24-10-3-3) vs. CONDORS (19-19-4-1)
6:00 p.m. | AHLTV | Spreaker | iHeartRadio
2019-20 Season Series: 5-2-0-1
2019-20 Heat Home Record: 10-6-3-1
2019-20 Condors Road Record: 12-10-0-1
Power Play – 37-for-148 (25.0%); 2nd
Penalty Kill – 151-for-171 (88.3%); 1st
Power Play – 33-for-172 (19.2%); 11th
Penalty Kill – 154-for-189 (81.5%); 18th
2019-20 Leading Scorers
Points – Gawdin (40)
Goals – Robinson (16)
Points – Benson (35)
Goals – Currie (19)
Stockton is the only team in the AHL yet to play a game since the All-Star break last weekend. Additionally, the Heat had an extra day of rest on the Saturday before the break and today is the first game in eight days for the second place team in the Pacific Division. While watching from the couch last night, Stockton received some help from the division-leading Tucson Roadrunners who lost their third straight game last night. Stockton could get back within a point of Tucson for the Pacific Division lead with a win and another Colorado win over Tucson.
Tonight wraps up a four-game homestand for Stockton, looking to extend their point streak to three games on home ice. Stockton is 1-1-1-0 in their last three games, looking to bounce back from a 4-3 overtime loss to the Ontario Reign before the All-Star break. The Heat will start the second half of the season without their leading goal-scorer, Buddy Robinson, who was called up on Sunday by the Calgary Flames.
Bakersfield dropped their first game back from the break last night, a 4-3 decision to the Ontario Reign on home ice. Prior to the loss, Bakersfield earned their first three-game win streak of the season. Ten Friday-night penalties dashed the Condors hopes, including six minor penalties in the second period. Ontario grabbed control of the game in the second frame, scoring three straight goals to build a 4-1 lead over host Bakersfield. The Condors clawed back notching two goals on 13 shots in the final period, but fell short to Ontario. Joe Gambardella and Josh Currie each posted a goal and an assist in the loss. Currie leads the team with 19 goals, scoring four goals in his last three games.
US VS. THEM
Stockton owns the series lead, owning a 5-2-0-1 record in the season series. The Heat won the most recent matchup between the rivals 4-2 on January 8 in Stockton. The Heat are 2-1-0-1 in four games in their own building against Bakersfield this year. Both teams have leaned on their power plays significantly in the season series. Stockton owns a slight special team edge, scoring 11 power play goals in 36 attempts (30.6%). Stockton’s league-best penalty kill has struggled against Bakersfield this season, killing off just 26 of Bakersfield’s 35 power plays (74.3%). Scoring has been the key to victory in the first eight installments of the Battle of Highway 99 with winning team scoring at least four goals in seven of the eight games.
Penalty kill lockdown. Heading into post All-Star break play, Stockton owns the league’s top penalty kill operating at 88.3%. The Heat gone seven straight games without allowing a power play goal, last allowing a man advantage goal on January 8 to Bakersfield. The Heat have killed off 27 straight attempts by the opposition’s man-advantage since that January 8th goal by Brad Malone.
The season series penalty kill numbers for Stockton are far below their season average, operating at just 74.3%. Stockton’s penalty kill has allowed Bakersfield goals in three straight games, including five goals in that span. Tonight will be a big test for the Heat penalty kill looking to make it eight straight games with a clean sheet on the penalty kill.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Byron Froese
Byron Froese has found his scoring groove again for Stockton. The captain has back to back multi point games for the first time this season, following his two assist performance in last Friday’s 4-3 overtime loss. The July 1st signing has helped move the needle for Stockton this season, providing a veteran leadership presence that is pitching in almost a point per game pace. With 14 goals and 28 points in 34 games this season, Froese ranks fifth in points on the top scoring offense in the AHL. The centerman will be leaned on heavily as Stockton looks to clinch a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs this spring.
Condors – Evan Bouchard
The all-star defenseman extended his point streak to four games last night, adding an assist in the 4-3 loss to Ontario. The rookie defenseman clocked in at 103.1 in the AHL All-Star Classic’s hardest shot competition, falling to the Pacific’s Martin Frk in the contest. Bouchard continues to impress at the AHL level, posting seven goals and 20 assists for 27 points in 43 games. He is growing more consistent in the defensive end, but his offense and puck moving ability already stands out in his 20-year-old season, recording 13 points on the man advantage.