STOCKTON, Calif. – Powered by Adam Ruzicka’s first professional hat trick and multi-point outings from Glenn Gawdin, Jakob Pelletier and Nick DeSimone, the Stockton Heat (4-0-1-0) rallied from an early deficit en route to a 6-3 win against divisional foe Colorado (1-5-0-1) Saturday night at Stockton Arena.
With the win, the Heat have opened the season with at least a point in each of the first five games for the first time in team history.
After conceding the game’s opening goal to the visiting Eagles 1:22 into the action, Mark Simpson potted his first of the season to even the score less than a minute later, the first of three Heat goals in the opening frame. Luke Philp’s marker at the 13:28 mark, finishing a perfect feed from Gawdin, gave the Heat the upper hand and Ruzicka netted his first of the evening with 1:11 to go in the opening frame for a 3-1 lead at the first intermission.
Ruzicka lit the lamp once again less than five minutes into the second stanza, beating goalie Hunter Miska on a rush to chase the Colorado starter, though the Eagles answered with a score of their own late in the frame to trim the deficit to two before the break.
Stockton slammed the door early in the final frame, Martin Pospisil lighting the lamp for the first time this season to push the cushion to three, before the Eagles and Heat exchanged scores later in the frame, including Ruzicka punctuating his hat trick with 2 minutes to go in the game.
- Ilya Solovyov made his AHL debut in the game.
- Adam Ruzicka registered Stockton’s first hat trick since Austin Czarnik scored three goals against Bakersfield on February 1, 2020.
- After Colorado scored first, it took Stockton just 57 seconds to answer. The Heat have trailed during play this season three times, with the deficits lasting 45 seconds, 3:25 and 57 seconds.
- Stockton’s first goal was Mark Simpson’s first of the season, and Emilio Pettersen picked up his first point of the year with an assist.
- Nick DeSimone notched his 100th AHL point with an assist on Luke Philp’s first period goal.
- The Heat scored multiple goals in the first for the first time this season, and the three goals in the opening frame matched a season best for scoring in a period.
- Jakob Pelletier (2g, 5a) and Matthew Phillips (2g, 3a) extended their respective scoring streaks to four games.
- The five-game point streak to start the season is a first in Stockton Heat history.
STK PP – 0-3
STK PK – 4-4
First – Adam Ruzicka (3 goals)
Second – Glenn Gawdin (2 assists)
Third – Nick DeSimone (2 assists)
W – Adam Werner (28 saves on 31 shots faced)
L – Hunter Miska (14 saves on 18 shots faced)
ND – Justus Annunen (13 saves on 14 shots faced)
The Heat conclude their home weekend Sunday at 5 p.m. against the San Jose Barracuda.