TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: Stockton Heat vs. Tucson Roadrunners
LOCATION: Stockton Arena | Stockton, Calif.
TIME: 7:00 p.m. PST
TUNE IN: Tonight’s game can be streamed on AHLTV, and the radio call is available via Spreaker and Fox Sports Radio 1280 AM in the Stockton area.
The Heat is Back On at Stockton Arena.
It’s been a long time since the ice was occupied in Stockton – 584 days, to be exact – but tonight the Heat drop the puck on the 2021-22 season by hosting divisional foe Tucson.
COMING IN HOT
The Heat have made a habit of starting strong on home ice, coming into tonight’s matchup with an all-time record of 4-0-1-0 in home openers at Stockton Arena. The lone loss came in 2018, a 6-5 setback against the Ontario Reign.
Head coach Mitch Love is set to make his official AHL coaching debut on Friday, leading the Heat bench. Love has won his previous two outings behind the bench, a prospects showdown against the Edmonton Oilers’ group and a preseason showdown against Bakersfield. Under Love’s guidance, the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades finished top-5 in the league in point percentage over the past three seasons.
THE WOLF OF FREMONT STREET
Among highly-touted Calgary Flames prospects on Stockton’s roster, Dustin Wolf looks to continue his strong play in the American Hockey League. The netminder has improved in each career outing, going from giving up five goals in his debut, to two in his second outing, to one in his third and most recently a shutout in Stockton’s preseason showdown with the Bakersfield Condors.
Last to join the Heat from Calgary preseason camp were goalie Adam Werner, defensemen Connor Mackey and forwards Walker Duehr, Byron Froese and Justin Kirkland. Werner is the only player unfamiliar with playing with the Heat as the other four all factored into the lineup a year ago. Mackey and Froese each also spent time with the Flames in 2020-21.
BACK TO THE BEST COAST
The 2021-22 season is a return to the Pacific Division for the Heat, who were forced to temporarily relocate to Calgary and join the temporary Canadian Division in 2021-22 due to cross-border travel complications caused by COVID-19. When the 2019-20 campaign was paused and ultimately canceled due to the pandemic, the Heat were sitting in playoff position heading into the season’s home stretch.