All gas, no brakes.
The Stockton Heat kicked off 2019 by setting a club record for most goals in a three-game span, finishing last week’s slate – which included a New Year’s Eve game against San Jose, Friday night showdown with Tucson and Saturday clash with Colorado – with 17 goals.
Might be time to change out the bulbs in the goal lights.
“I think we’re feeling it right now,” said Heat head coach Cail MacLean. “We’re a strong offensive team. We have a lot to give in that respect. We compete consistently strong there, and I want us to make sure we keep scoring goals and keep that a strength of our team.”
Leading the charge was a familiar face in Matthew Phillips, who now owns the AHL’s second-longest active scoring streak at eight games, seven of the 14 points in that span coming over the Heat’s three games this past week. The 20-year-old rookie’s strong play extends long beyond his recent stretch, now at a point-per-game clip over his last 23 games played.
He has been a part of a newly-formed line alongside Kerby Rychel and Curtis Lazar, who had four and five points on the week, respectively.
The biggest boon for the Heat over the past week has been the contributions from all four lines. Buddy Robinson is riding the momentum of a seven-game scoring streak, Rob Hamilton came through with three points (2G, 1A) in Saturday’s win, and Ryan Lomberg is finding his touch, claiming a goal in three straight games for the first time in his career.
All told, 17 skaters notched at least one point last week for the Heat, who time and again have shown they have one of the most potent offensive groups in the AHL.
This all came before Sunday’s announcement that Dillon Dube, who had eight points in eight games with Stockton in the not-too-distant past, will rejoin the team after spending a week with the Flames.
Now 34 games into the season, exactly the halfway point for the Heat, Stockton stands at 15-16-3-0, sixth in the Pacific but still very much in the race.
The offense will have to stay hot as the temperature in the playoff race cranks up, but based on recent results, Stockton won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
- The 17 goals scored by the Heat last week were the most ever in a three-game span in team history, edging out 16 goals, which was accomplished twice – once earlier this season (Nov. 20-23), and from Oct. 30 through Nov. 5, back in 2016.
- Matthew Phillips has recorded three-point outputs in three of the Heat’s last four games. His eight-game scoring streak is second in the AHL, trailing only Chicago’s Brandon Pirri, who has claimed nine points in seven games this season with the Vegas Golden Knights.
- Buddy Robinson‘s seven-game scoring streak is the third-longest in the AHL right now. He has nine points over that span.
- The Heat are now eighth in the AHL and second in the Pacific Division in goals per game at 3.53.
- Spencer Foo played in his 100th professional game in Saturday’s win.
“We had some good offensive efforts from different guys. It’s certainly important to get a win at home. We had struggled in the last couple of games, so it was a big win for us.” – Head coach Cail MacLean following Saturday’s win.
“We’ve got to clean up the penalty kill. We’ve given up six in two games, which is way, way too many. We did some things in the first half of the game that I liked defensively, but in the last seven minutes there it started to catch up with us. We’ve got to make sure we’re working on all aspects of defence.” – MacLean on where the team can improve moving forward.
“(Rychel and Lazar) make the game really easy. They see the ice well. They make good plays and they’re good defensively too. I think we’re doing a good job of working together as a line and playing to our strengths.” – Matthew Phillips on the production of his new line
“One of our best starts of the year. The second period wasn’t bad. The third period we kind of stopped playing there, which we need to clean up. But it feels good to get a win, we hadn’t had one in a couple of games, but it’s good to get back there.” – Phillips on Saturday’s win.