Stockton is back home at Stockton Arena to take on the Tucson Roadrunners for the first of eight meetings this season. Tonight starts the first of three straight games against the Roadrunners; Stockton will head back on the road next week to play two against the Roadrunners in Tucson. The Heat roll back to Stockton coming off back-to-back wins in Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Nine goals in two games in Loveland highlighted the 2-1 road trip for the Heat. Following a travel day on Thursday, the Heat will look to improve to above .500 and win three in a row for the first time this season.
Tonight is another Fry-Day presented by Golden State Restaurant Group McDonald’s. All season long fans can go to participating McDonald’s locations and take their receipt to the Stockton Arena Box Office for a buy one, get one free ticket offer.
The Heat continue the season of giving during the Stockton Coat, Blanket and Sock Drive presented by The Record, ACE Train, United Way of San Joaquin County, SMG Stockton Arena, the Stockton Heat and Stockton Fire! Tonight fans who donate a new or gently used coat to the Stockton Arena ticket office will receive a FREE ticket to tonight’s game against the Tucson Roadrunners. The collected items will be distributed to the community on a December 15 distribution event to those in need.
Or, you can head over to Channel Brewing Co. in Downtown Stockton as the brew pub will be serving up delicious craft beer and pizzas with the Heat on their TV’s at 110 N. San Joaquin Street!
WHO TO WATCH
Glenn Gawdin is quietly having a strong start to his rookie season for Stockton with five goals, including four on the power play. With Gawdin’s power play goal on Wednesday night he tied Spencer Foo for the team lead for power play goals. It is rare that a rookie is playing on the top power play unit as well as earning regular penalty killing minutes, but that is exactly what Glenn Gawdin has done for the Heat over the last few weeks. Gawdin centered one of Stockton’s strongest lines during the sweep of Colorado. Gawdin played up the middle with Anthony Peluso and fellow rookie Matthew Phillips on either side.
Two things stand out with Gawdin’s game, allowing him to be a big difference maker for Stockton. His shot is well above average and he does not need much time to get it off, particularly on the power play. Secondly, his positioning and hockey sense has improved drastically over the last several weeks. He is more responsible in his own end as well as knowing where to position himself in the offensive zone to get off that quick shot of his.
Stockton’s power play went three for ten during the last two games. However, it was not all roses for the man-advantage. Stockton conceded three shorthanded goals, adding to their league leading total of eight short-handed goals allowed this year. Heat bench boss, Cail MacLean has addressed this multiple times over the last week and knows the team needs to improve in that area.
On the flip side, Stockton’s penalty kill was terrific in Colorado, killing off all six chances against and also adding their own shorthanded goal on Wednesday night off the stick of Curtis Lazar.
PLAYING WITH A LEAD
Through thirteen games, Stockton is clearly a team that is much more comfortable playing with a lead. They continue to show they are a tough team to beat when scoring first with a record of 5-1-1. When leading after two periods, Stockton is an impressive 5-0. Scoring first against Tucson will once again be a top priority for the Heat with one of the league’s top teams in town.
DOING IT ALL
Nick Schneider picked up both wins in goal against Colorado. The first coming in relief for Jon Gillies on Tuesday night. The 21-year-old kept a clean sheet in the third period and overtime to help Stockton earn the 5-4 comeback victory. Schneider got the start on Wednesday and was outstanding in goal, stopping 33 of 35 shots in his first start of the season for Stockton.
Schneider also picked up his first pro assist on Matthew Phillips’ goal on Wednesday night. Not a bad for Schneider. First win of the year and first pro point. Through three games, Schneider is 2-0 with 1.19 goals against average and a .956 SV%.
Curtis Lazar had his best game of his Heat tenure on Wednesday night, recording his first three-point game of his pro career. After leaving the game at the end of the first period, he received stitches, went back out and scored two goals and added an assist all within a seven minute span to give the Heat a three goal lead. The Heat would never look back and complete the sweep of Colorado. Lazar now has four multi-point games on the season.
Stockton has earned five of their seven wins this season away from home. The Heat are coming off back to back wins against Colorado and will look to win three straight games for the first time this season. Although a home game tonight, Stockton is also riding a two-game road win streak. Back in October they won three straight games away from home stretching from Friday, October 12 to Friday, October 26.