TUCSON, Ariz. – The Stockton Heat (20-4-2-1) started fast and never looked back on Wednesday, improving to 7-0-0-0 on the year following losses with a 5-2 win over the Tucson Roadrunners (11-10-2-0) Wednesday at the Tucson Convention Center.
With the win, the Heat became the second AHL team to reach the 20-win mark on the year, joining the Chicago Wolves.
Matthew Phillips put the Heat on top in the game’s first minute, putting a puck past Ivan Prosvetov from a sharp angle 54 seconds into the contest. Glenn Gawdin then doubled the lead late in the frame, converting on a penalty shot for a 2-0 edge through 20 minutes.
The teams each traded a pair of scores in the second, Stockton getting lamp-lighters from Greg Moro, his first of the season, and Eetu Tuulola, whose shorthanded marker was his first while on the PK for the campaign.
The Heat maintained the 4-2 lead until late in the third, when Justin Kirkland pushed his goal streak to three with a shorthanded, empty net goal, his third-straight game with a score.
Adam Werner made 24 stops on 26 shots faced in his first game action since December 10, and Stockton’s penalty kill rebounded from Tuesday’s contest with a 6-for-6 performance.
- Matthew Phillips’ game-opening goal 54 seconds in was the fastest goal to start a game involving the Heat this season. Stockton’s previous fastest was at 1:49, Jakob Pelletier on November 10, and the fastest goal from the start the Heat have conceded came at 1:22.
- Glenn Gawdin’s goal came on a penalty shot, his second-career penalty shot goal (last on December 7, 2019 against Bakersfield). He has accounted for both penalty shot scores in Heat history.
- Phillips and Gawdin became the third and fourth Heat skaters, respectively, to reach double-digit goals on the season, joining Pelletier and Adam Ruzicka.
- Greg Moro’s goal was his first of the season, and first since March 27, 2021.
- Eetu Tuulola now has a shorthanded goal in each season he’s played in the AHL.
- Stockton is 7-0-0-0 after losses this year and has scored first in six of those seven games.
STK PP – 0-for-4
STK PK – 6-for-6
First – Matthew Phillips (1g)
Second – Glenn Gawdin (1g,1a)
Third – Luke Philp (1a)
W – Adam Werner (24 saves on 26 shots faced)
L – Ivan Prosvetov (13 saves on 17 shots faced)
ND – Josef Korenar (11 saves on 11 shots faced)
The Heat continue their road trip Friday at San Diego, a 7 p.m. puck drop at Pechanga Arena.