Stockton, Calif. – The Stockton Heat got off to a red hot start Saturday night, as the power play carried them to a 7-0 win over the Rockford IceHogs at Stockton Arena. It was the first ever AHL game for the Heat and the offense showed up in droves, rattling off 4 goals in the first period alone. Jakub Nakladal led the power play with two assists off shots from the point and Derek Grant became a part of history, scoring the first goal in Stockton Heat team history. Rookie goaltender Jon Gillies showed exactly why he’s been so hyped all summer long, as he posted a 19-save shutout in his first career pro start. The Heat will get a nice break to celebrate this first victory before hitting the ice in Stockton once more Thursday, October 15 when they take on the San Jose Barracuda.
HEAT GOAL: F Derek Grant (1) backdoor tap-in off a no-look backhand pass from across the slot (Elson, Poirier assists), 4:22
HEAT GOAL: F Bill Arnold (1) shot from the point goes through traffic and is deflected down past the goaltender (Nakladal, Agostino assists), 8:08 (PP)
HEAT GOAL: F Markus Granlund (1) shot from the point is tipped down in front after making its way through traffic on top of the crease (Nakladal, Shore assists), 12:14 (PP)
HEAT GOAL: D Oliver Kylington (1) shot from the high slot is ripped off the crossbar and into the net on the glove side (Granlund, Sieloff assists), 14:35
Shots: STK – 18 | RFD – 8
HEAT GOAL: F Drew Shore (1) catch-and-shoot chance from the slot is put high past the goalie with the screen in front (Agostino, Granlund assists), 0:39
Shots: STK – 8 | RFD – 3
HEAT GOAL: F Derek Grant (2) shot from the slot beats the goaltender off the quick release (Elson, Poirier assists), 1:02
HEAT GOAL: F Freddie Hamilton (1) shot from the far side faceoff dot beats the goaltender as it ricocheted off his shoulder and into the net (Kylington, Johnson assists), 9:27 (PP)
Shots: STK – 8 | RFD – 8
W: Jon Gillies (19 shots, 19 saves)
L: Michael Leighton (14 shots, 10 saves)
Mac Carruth (17 shots, 14 saves) replaced Leighton in the first period
Three Stars: 1- Jakub Nakladal (2 assists) 2- Derek Grant (2 goals) 3- Turner Elson (2 assists)
Final Shots: STK – 31 | RFD – 19
Power Plays: STK – 3/8 | RFD – 0/2
Derek Grant scores first goal in Stockton Heat team history
Jakub Nakladal, Turner Elson, Emile Poirier and Kenny Agostino all had 2 assists
Oliver Kylington and Drew Shore each had a goal and an assist
Markus Granlund (1 goal, 2 assists) led the team in scoring
Jon Gillies earns first career shutout in first career pro start
“It was a great game for us tonight and the power play was the key for us tonight. We did a great job of creating multiple options for anyone with the puck and that let us be very successful with that. [Drew] Shore and Kenny Agostino were always ready for one-timers and everybody else was always prepared.” – Jakub Nakladal on his team’s power-play performance.
“It’s always exciting for us to come into a new city and new rink with a lot of energy. We fed off that crowd early and it showed on the scoreboard. Scoring the first goal is a good feeling. I think the crowd was a big part of the game tonight.” – Derek Grant on scoring the first goal in team history and the crowd’s impact on the game.
“Well we have a lot of guys that are NHL players. We really have, as far as talent and effort is concerned, one of the best teams I’ve ever seen since I’ve been in this league. Obviously 7 goals isn’t going to happen every night but we’re going to make a hard, hard push this year for sure.” – Turner Elson on the overall play of his team.
“I don’t really get too nervous. It’s more excitement and anxiousness really. I grew up around this league so it’s not something that is too new to me, but still you never really picture yourself playing in this league. It’s surreal to get out there and get a few saves under my belt.” – Goaltender Jon Gillies on his nerves heading into the game.
“The crowd was spectacular. All the boys had high expectations for the turnout and they really exceeded them. It was a very passionate crowd and extremely loud. It was a lot of fun to play in front of them.” – Gillies on the turnout in the stands for opening night.
“I liked our game tonight. Our power play did a great job early on and got us off on the right foot. We dominated the first 20 [minutes] and didn’t let our foot off the gas the rest of the way.” – Head Coach Ryan Huska on his take on the first ever game in Stockton Heat history.
“I liked that unit tonight. I think [Jakub] Nakladal surprised us a little bit with his puck skills at the point and the rest of the guys really fed off of his play at the point. He was a big impact guy back there for us tonight.” – Coach Huska on the play of the power play, Jakub Nakladal in particular.
“We were thrilled with the result. [Jon Gillies] made saves tonight and made them look easy. He’s going to be a tough goalie to face for opponents because his 6’5” frame makes it difficult to see around him.” – Coach Huska on the play of his goaltender Jon Gillies.
NEXT HOME GAME
STOCKTON HEAT vs. San Jose Barracuda
October 15 @ Stockton Arena
Heat schedule cards to first 1,000 fans
Doors @ 6:00 p.m., Puck drop @ 7:00 p.m.