STOCKTON, Calif. – Behind a two-goal effort from Emilio Pettersen and multi-point nights from Connor Mackey, Mark Simpson, Justin Kirkland and Eetu Tuulola, the Stockton Heat (34-9-4-1) rallied from a two-goal deficit to earn a 6-3 win over the San Jose Barracuda (18-29-2-1) Saturday at Stockton Arena.
It was the second time in as many nights that the Heat escaped a two-goal hole against the divisional foe, and has the Heat tied for most wins in a season in team history with 34.
For the second consecutive night it was the Barracuda getting the scoring started, Jasper Weatherby scoring 6:47 into the action. Tuulola responded with just under five minutes remaining in the frame, knotting the game at one a side.
San Jose was able to take a two-goal edge through the midway point of the second, Jake McGrew and Lane Pederson lighting the lamp, a cushion that lasted until the Pettersen’s first marker of the contest with 1:52 remaining in the frame to trim the deficit to a single score.
Stockton then took over in the third, scoring four goals including two just 11 seconds apart at 2:59 and 3:10, Alex Gallant tying the game and Luke Philp putting Stockton ahead for good. Byron Froese added an insurance marker at the 10:48 mark and Pettersen capped the scoring with a penalty shot strike with 6:05 to play.
With the win, the Heat clinched the season series over San Jose.
- Eetu Tuulola matched his career-best scoring output of 10 goals, set in his rookie season in 2019-20, when he played 50 games.
- With two assists in the game, Connor Mackey became the fourth Heat defenseman to register a 30-point season (5g, 26a). He’s the first since the 2017-18 season, when Rasmus Andersson (9g, 30a), Tyler Wotherspoon (7g, 30a) and Oliver Kylington (7g, 28a) reached the milestone.
- Emilio Pettersen pushed his scoring streak to a career-long four games, now with four goals and two assists in that span. The game was his first two-goal outing of his career.
- Stockton’s two goals in 11 seconds to start the third period was the shortest span between two strikes this season, besting the previous low of 14 seconds set against San Jose on December 7.
- The Heat clinch the season series over San Jose, leading the 10-game set 6-1-0-0. The Heat have tied the team’s all-time record for wins in a season with 34 (set in 2016-17 and 2017-18) and can clinch the club’s second-ever playoff berth next week with a ‘Magic Number’ of five points.
STK PP – 1-for-3
STK PK – 2-for-4
First – Emilio Pettersen (2g)
Second – Alex Gallant (1g)
Third – Eetu Tuulola (1g,1a)
W – Dustin Wolf (30 saves on 33 shots faced)
L – Alexei Melnichuk (34 saves on 40 shots faced)
The Heat begin a four-game week next week on Monday with a 6:30 p.m. puck drop, the first of two work-week tilts against the Condors. Stockton then hits the road to face the Colorado Eagles for a pair over the weekend.