STOCKTON, Calif. – The Stockton Heat (27-8-3-1) remained perfect following losses this season and retained the top spot in the Pacific Division with a 6-5 win in a shootout over the Ontario Reign (25-8-3-3) Saturday at Stockton Arena.
The Heat were paced on the offensive end by Justin Kirkland and Mark Simpson, who each finished the game with a goal and an assist in a game in which the Heat never trailed.
Stockton took the early edge, claiming the game’s first two goals from Kirkland and Simpson, and took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. A game Ontario squad answered in the second to tie the game at four apiece entering the third, the Heat getting goals from Luke Philp and Byron Froese in the second stanza.
Emilio Pettersen then put the Heat on top with 11:30 to go in regulation, his second goal in as many nights, before the Reign answered in the waning minutes to force overtime.
After a scoreless 3-on-3 period, the Heat lit the lamp three times in the shootout, goals from Kirkland, Matthew Phillips and Martin Pospisil, while Dustin Wolf made a pair of stops to seal the win.
- Justin Kirkland notched his second multi-point game of the weekend and fourth of the season. It was his second game with both a goal and an assist, and he’s a perfect 4-for-4 on the year in shootouts.
- Mark Simpson’s goal in the first was his second of the season, first since October 30. With an assist on Emilio Pettersen’s score in the third, he notched his second professional multi-point game, first since February 26, 2021.
- Pettersen has goals in consecutive games after coming into the weekend with one.
- Dustin Wolf became the first goalie in Stockton Heat history to reach 20 wins in a season.
- Stockton is now 12-0-0-0 on the year after losses, 22-1-2-0 when scoring first, 15-0-2-1 when leading after one period and 3-1 in shootouts.
STK PP – 0-for-4
STK PK – 2-for-5
First – Justin Kirkland (1g,1a)
Second – Mark Simpson (1g,1a)
Third – Gabriel Vilardi (2g)
W – Dustin Wolf (29 saves on 34 shots faced, 2 shootout saves in 4 shots)
SOL – Matthew Villalta (44 saves on 49 shots faced, 1 shootout save in 4 shots)
The Heat return to action on Saturday at Bakersfield, the front end of a weekend home-and-home against the Condors with Sunday’s game at Stockton Arena at 5 p.m.