STOCKTON, Calif. – Despite strong efforts from rookie forwards Eetu Tuulola and Adam Ruzicka with a goal and assist apiece, the Stockton Heat could not hold serve on home ice as the club fell 6-3 Friday night to the Ontario Reign. Stockton gave up the game’s first goal in the opening minute before Tuulola’s response less than four minutes later, but a three-straight scores from Ontario gave the visitors a lead that the Heat could not overcome. Stockton was able to make the game close with consecutive markers from Ruzicka and Alan Quine to draw back to within striking distance, but a Reign response from Bokondji Imama allowed Ontario to regain a multi-goal cushion midway through the third and Blaine Byron deposited his second goal of the night into an empty net for the 6-3 final score. The Heat will return to action Saturday against the Pacific Division-leading Tucson Roadrunners.
SCORING & PENALTY SUMMARY
W: Matthew Villalta (38 shots, 35 saves)
L: Jon Gillies (29 shots, 24 saves)
Three Stars: First – Blaine Byron (2g,1a), Second – Sheldon Rempal (1g,1a), Third – Eetu Tuulola (1g,1a)
Shots On Goal: STK – 38, ONT – 30
Power Plays: STK – 1-3, ONT – 0-0
– Eetu Tuulola’s goal in the first period was his first marker since December 31, snapping a 14-game goal-less skid. He finished the game with two points, a goal and an assist.
– Adam Ruzicka’s multi-point game extended his scoring streak to four games, now with a goal and four assists in that span.
– Alan Quine pushed his scoring streak to eight games, totaling 12 points (5g,7a) in that span. His goal just 15 seconds into the third was the fastest score to start a period this season for the Heat.
– Byron Froese notched an assist on Quine’s goal, pushing his scoring streak to eight games (6g,8a) as well.
– The team that scores the first goal is now 6-1-1-0 in the season series between Stockton and Ontario. The Reign have won four straight in the series.
– The Heat did not take a penalty in the game, the first time all season Stockton kept a clean sheet in penalties.
The Heat continue the busy home weekend with a Saturday tilt at 6 p.m. against the Tucson Roadrunners on Safety/Law Enforcement Appreciation Night before concluding the home stand Monday at 1 p.m. against the San Diego Gulls.