STOCKTON, Calif. – Jakob Pelletier notched a career-best four points, all assists, to help the Stockton Heat (44-14-5-2) reduce their division-clinching magic number to one point after a 5-4 overtime setback against the Abbotsford Canucks (38-21-5-1) Friday at Stockton Arena.
With the point earned in the game, the Heat have tied the 2016-17 Barracuda for most points in a season by a Pacific Division team with 95.
The Heat scored first with Justin Kirkland extending his goal streak to a career-best four games, a power play strike 8:34 into the contest. Jarid Lukosevicius tied the game seven minutes later to knot the game at a goal a side after a period.
Abbotsford jumped on top in the second, Justin Dowling giving the visitors their first lead of the game, but the Heat responded with two strikes in before the end of the frame from Matthew Phillips, his 30th of the year, and Glenn Gawdin to take a 3-2 lead into the final frame.
Justin Bailey tied the game near the midway point of the third, a stalemate that lasted all of 66 seconds as Byron Froese then pushed the Heat ahead with his 20th goal of the campaign. Dowling tied the game late, pulling the Canucks even with just 3:28 to go in regulation, then Sheldon Rempal scored the game-winner 3:26 into overtime.
The Heat get their second crack at clinching the division title on Saturday, a 7 p.m. puck drop at Bakersfield.
- Daniil Chechelev made his AHL debut in the game and finished with 28 saves and an assist.
- Justin Kirkland scored a goal for the fourth consecutive game, the longest goal streak of his career.
- Matthew Phillips became the first player in the history of the Stockton Heat and first Flames prospect to reach 30 goals in an AHL season since Krys Kolonos of the Abbotsford Heat in 2011-12.
- Jakob Pelletier’s four assists is a career high set a season best for the Heat. It’s the fourth time this year a Heat skater notched four points in a game.
- Byron Froese became the fifth player for the Heat to reach 20 goals on the year.
- Glenn Gawdin became the third player for the Heat to reach 50 points on the year with his second period strike.
- The Heat clinch a division title with a win, overtime loss, shootout loss or Reign loss at any point the rest of the season.
STK PP – 2-for-3
STK PK – 1-for-1
First – Sheldon Rempal (1g,1a)
Second – Justin Dowling (2g)
Third – Jakob Pelletier (4a)
W – Michael DiPietro (26 saves on 30 shots faced)
OTL – Daniil Chechelev (28 saves on 33 shots faced)
The Heat finish out the regular season with three road games, including Saturday at Bakersfield, Tuesday at San Diego and next Saturday, April 30 at Bakersfield.