Stockton is in San Diego looking to win the three-game road trip following a mid-week split in Tucson. The only other meeting between the two clubs this year was back on Friday, October 26 in San Diego when San Diego scored four straight goals to force overtime, but the Heat would win it the 14th round of the shootout. Matt Taormina scored the game winner after Jon Gillies stopped 12 of 14 attempts in the shootout. Both clubs head into tonight on the heels of Wednesday night losses that snapped a four game win streak for Stockton and three game win streak for San Diego.
WHO TO WATCH
Buddy Robinson put together an impressive two-game stint in Tucson, recording four points, including his first goal of the season on Wednesday night. Robinson is just a year removed from his 25-goal campaign with Manitoba. Hopefully a weight is lifted off of the veteran’s shoulders after posting four points in two nights. Robinson had just five points in his first 16 games.
Traditionally, he is the type of player that can score from the dirty areas and doesn’t always need the greatest scoring chances to capitalize. Robinson’s strength will be needed below the hashmarks tonight against a physical San Diego team.
LAST TIME VS. SAN DIEGO
Stockton and San Diego’s battle on October 26 was arguably the most entertaining game of the season. Stockton scored four first period goals, including two of the stick of rookie Glenn Gawdin. The Heat held a comfortable four goal lead in the second before quickly allowing San Diego back into the game. San Diego would score four goals of their own to force overtime. Jon Gillies was the hero in the 14th round shootout win. Matt Taormina scored the game winner in the 14th round.
TIME TO START ANEW Stockton’s four game win streak came to a close on Wednesday night at the hands of the Tucson Roadrunners. As Buddy Robinson pointed out following the game it is very difficult to win three straight games against the same team. Tucson capitalized on their power play opportunities in the second period, to hand Nick Schneider his first loss of the season.
KLIMMER GETTING GOING
The best line for the Stockton Heat in Tucson was centered by Curtis Lazar with Morgan Klimchuk and Buddy Robinson on either side. The trio combined for nine points in the two games against the Roadrunners and each player had a goal. Klimchuk, who just played in his 200th career AHL game, is starting to get rewarded for his play on this line since returning from injury. The team is 5-2 following his insertion back into the lineup.
The Heat penalty kill has been inconsistent this season for the Heat, but prior to Wednesday night it was firing on all cylinders. Heading into Wednesday’s game, Stockton was 21 of their last 22 power on the penalty kill, including 17 straight kills over the last four games. However, the tables turned against them on Wednesday, allowing Tucson to score on both of their power play chances.
Wednesday’s loss to Tucson was just the first one-goal loss in regulation all season long. The Heat are now 5-1-1 in such games.