TODAY’S MATCHUP: Stockton Heat (20-5-2-1; 1st Pacific) at Ontario Reign (16-6-2-1; 2nd Pacific)
LOCATION: Toyota Arena | Ontario, California
TIME: 3:00 p.m. PST
TUNE IN: Today’s game can be streamed on AHLTV, and the radio call is available online via Spreaker.
Stockton’s season-long road trip continues Sunday with a 3 p.m. puck drop against the Ontario Reign in a matchup of the top two teams in the AHL’s Pacific Division. The Heat enter the contest off a 4-1 loss to the San Diego Gulls, Eetu Tuulola the lone goal scorer for Stockton in the setback. Ontario earned a 5-4, overtime win over the Gulls Saturday.
Stockton comes into Sunday’s game a perfect 7-0-0-0 on the year following losses, most recently with an emphatic 5-1 win over the Tucson Roadrunners. Stockton has outscored its opponents by a 28-11 margin in those games and has scored first in six of the seven tilts.
Heat captain Byron Froese returned to Stockton on Saturday, and the veteran forward figures to record his first game action in just over a month as he rejoins the Heat on Sunday. Froese registered a hat trick in his last outing on December 7 against San Jose and has spent the last 32 days with the Calgary Flames.
NEVER CRY WOLF
Dustin Wolf has been strong in Stockton’s bounce-back efforts this season, earning six wins in the team’s seven contests following losses on the year. Wolf is 15-1-2-0 on the season, including a win over the Ontario Reign in which he stopped 31 of 33 shots faced in a 4-2 win on November 21.
FINN-EAS AND FERB
The ‘Big Finn’ Eetu Tuulola has goals in back-to-back games for the third time this season after his power play marker on Friday, his second on the man-advantage this season. Tuulola enters Sunday’s game with seven goals in 23 games played, good for the sixth-best total on the roster. His career high for a season is 10 in 50 games.
REIGN OVER ME
Stockton and Ontario split the weekend series earlier in the season one game apiece, the lone meetings between the top two Pacific Division clubs on the season. The Heat have an all-time record of 20-23-5-0 against the Reign, 10-12-2-0 on the road at Ontario. All three games of the season set, including today’s contest, have been played at Toyota Arena, with the next four taking place at Stockton Arena.