LOVELAND, Colo. – Connor Zary, Jakob Pelletier and Matthew Phillips each lit the lamp twice as the Stockton Heat (36-11-4-1) defeated the Colorado Eagles (30-18-4-3) by a 10-3 final score Saturday to clinch a Calder Cup Playoffs berth.
The Heat became the first team to punch their postseason ticket in the AHL this season with Saturday’s win.
Stockton’s offense got rolling early, Kevin Gravel lighting the lamp 1:21 into the game’s action with the first of three scores from the visiting team, Phillips and Byron Froese capping the early attack for the Heat as Stockton took a 3-2 lead into the first intermission.
It was all Stockton after that, the Heat bringing a relentless offensive onslaught that saw three goals scored in the second – two from Zary and one from Pelletier – followed by four in the final frame – Pelletier, Martin Pospisil, Justin Kirkland and Phillips – as the Heat built a 10-2 edge, a cushion that lasted until the waning moments when Colorado scored to produce the 10-3 final.
It’s Stockton’s second-ever Calder Cup Playoffs berth, the first since the 2016-17 season.
- Byron Froese skated in his 500th professional game.
- Nick DeSimone skated in his 250th AHL game.
- Connor Zary notched his second-career multi-goal game, first since March 3, 2021 against Belleville.
- Jakob Pelletier posted his fifth multi-goal game of the season.
- Matthew Phillips posted his fourth multi-goal game of the season.
- Adam Ruzicka had two assists and was a plus-4 in his first game back with the Heat.
- It’s the second time this season Stockton has scored 10 goals in a game.
STK PP – 1-for-2
STK PK – 4-for-5
First – Jakob Pelletier (2g,1a)
Second – Matthew Phillips (2g,1a)
Third – Dustin Wolf (28 svs)
W – Dustin Wolf (28 saves on 31 shots faced)
L – Justus Annunen (13 saves on 18 shots faced)
ND – Hunter Miska (15 saves on 20 shots faced)
The Heat head to San Jose Tuesday and return home to Stockton Arena for Latin Celebration Night on Friday, March 25 – a 6 p.m. puck drop.