HEAT (26-12-3-3) vs. REIGN (24-19-4-1)
7:00 p.m. PST | AHLTV | Spreaker | iHeartRadio | Fox Sports 1280
2019-20 Season Series: 3-3-1-0
2019-20 Heat Home Record: 11-6-3-1
2019-20 Reign Road Record: 16-11-0-0
Power Play – 41-for-163 (25.2%); 2nd
Penalty Kill – 161-for-185 (87.0%); 2nd
Power Play – 28-for-189 (14.8%); 26th
Penalty Kill – 172-for-220 (78.2%); 28th
2019-20 Leading Scorers
Points – Quine (42)
Goals – Froese (28)
Points – Frk (36)
Goals – Frk (23)
Stockton snapped out of a brief losing skid with a dramatic, come-from-behind victory Wednesday night against the San Jose Barracuda, erasing a two-goal deficit in the third frame en route to a 4-3 overtime win. Byron Froese recorded three points on the night, including two goals and a helper, while Alan Quine registered the game-tying goal with 1:25 remaining in regulation and then Luke Philp scored the game-winner 1:19 into OT. Austin Czarnik extended his scoring streak to four games with a pair of assists in the game. The Heat look to earn some separation in the standings in a suddenly-tight Pacific Division race, teams one and four separated by just nine points and Stockton tied with Colorado with 58 points on the season. The Heat aim to extend their home point streak to four games with Friday’s tilt, the first contest in a three-games-in-four-days sprint at Stockton Arena.
The resurgent group from Ontario is the hottest team in the Pacific Division, the Reign coming into tonight’s game with an impressive 8-1-1-0 mark in their last 10 games played and have lit the lamp 20 times in four games played thus far in February. The visitors will be shorthanded on the night as leading scorer Martin Frk and primary netminder Cal Petersen were recalled by the Los Angeles Kings earlier in the week. The Reign have been comfortable on the road so far this season with a solid 16-11-0-0 record away from Toyota Arena, and they’ll have to keep up that trend as they look to erase one of four games in hand held over them by Stockton in the divisional race.
US VS. THEM
A tightly-contested season series, Stockton enters the game 3-3-1-0 against the Reign. Ontario, which has won the last three contests overall, is 3-1-0-0 at Stockton Arena this season with a trio of one-goal wins. The Heat have been paced by Glenn Gawdin and Buddy Robinson thus far in the season series, each player with six points in the seven games, and it would be a welcome sign for Stockton’s All-Star to find his scoring touch after going without a point in four straight. The first goal has been critical thus far in the season series between the two clubs, the team scoring first going 5-1-1-0 thus far.
The Heat were well-rested over All-Star break, playing just one game from January 25 through February 7, but the rest is now firmly in the rear view. Friday’s game is the first of a stretch of eight games in 16 days to close out the month of February, with nine of the next 13 coming on home ice. Following tonight’s game against Ontario, the next seven games will be against teams currently in the top four of their divisions in point percentage – six of those contests coming against Pacific Division foes. The four-point swings will be pivotal as the playoff race hits high gear.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Byron Froese
Froese is on fire right now, and the captain will need to continue that performance as the Heat hit a pivotal busy stretch in the schedule. The captain has points in seven-straight games and has recorded multi-point efforts in five of Stockton’s last six games, including Wednesday’s three-point outburst.
Reign – Mikey Eyssimont
With Martin Frk skating for the Los Angeles Kings, Mikey Eyssimont becomes Ontario’s leading active point-getter against Stockton with five points (3g,2a) in seven games against the Heat on the year. Eyssimont was held scoreless in Ontario’s Wednesday night win, but he has points in six of the Reign’s last seven games coming into Friday’s tilt.