LOVELAND, Colo. – Behind another strong game from Artyom Zagidulin with 31 saves on 33 shots faced, the Stockton Heat finished off a season-opening sweep of the Colorado Eagles with a 4-2 win Saturday night in Loveland. The win gives Stockton its first 2-0 start since the 2016-17 season, and this is the first time ever that the Heat have won their first two road games of a campaign. For the second-straight night, Matthew Phillips got the scoring going with a first-period tally. A similar script continued into the second period as the Heat doubled their advantage, Zac Leslie finding the back of the net to double the lead to two. After an Eagles marker brought the home team within one, Stockton responded with a goal of its own thanks to Buddy Robinson, a score that proved to be his second game-winner in as many nights. The game tightened once again with Michael Joly lighting the lamp with just 62 seconds remaining, but Heat captain Byron Froese put the game out of reach with an empty net goal to produce the 4-2 final score.
SCORING AND PENALTY SUMMARY
W: Artyom Zagidulin (33 shots, 31 saves)
L: Adam Werner (27 shots, 24 saves)
Three Stars: First – Zac Rinaldo (2a), Second – Zac Leslie (1g), Third – T.J. Tynan (2a)
Final Shots: STK – 28, COL – 33
Power Plays: STK – 1-8, COL – 1-4
– The game was Ryan Lomberg’s 200th as a member of the Stockton Heat, tying him with Morgan Klimchuk for most tenured Heat player of all time.
– The game was Justin Kirkland’s 200th professional game. Before joining Stockton, Kirkland skated in 198 contests with the Milwaukee Admirals.
– Matthew Phillips scored the first goal of the game for the second time in two nights.
– Zac Leslie registered his first goal as a member of the Heat.
– Buddy Robinson’s second-period marker gives him a score in each game this season, both game-winners.
– Byron Froese’s empty-netter gives him a goal in each game this season.
– Zac Rinaldo had a pair of assists on the night, giving him a total of three for the opening weekend.
– The Heat are now 8-1-0-1 all-time against the Eagles, 5-1 in Loveland.
– This was the first time Stockton has started 2-0 since the 2016-17 season and the first time ever that the Heat won their first two road games.
The Heat have a week to prepare for their home opener on Saturday, October 12 at 6 p.m. against the San Diego Gulls. Admission is free for all fans 15 years of age or younger and the first 4,000 fans will receive rally towels courtesy of the Port of Stockton.