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Photo Credit: Stockton Heat/Jack Lima

Stockton Heat win, clinch playoff spot

With a 2-1 victory over the Bakersfield Condors (Edmonton’s farm team) tonight, the Stockton Heat have wrapped up a playoff spot.

The evening’s first and finest goal was scored by Swedish golden boy Oliver Kylington, who did it on a sweet end-to-end effort.

It was also his first game back from a minor lower body injury, just to make the narrative that much sweeter.

Bakersfield later scored to tie it up 1-1, but as the Heat only needed a single point to clinch a playoff spot and elimate them, the Condors pulled their goalie. Ryan Lomberg made them pay, and the Heat are headed to the playoffs.

“Rollercoaster season” is a cliche that’s been exhausted, but you wouldn’t be wrong to apply that label to these previous 68 games. The Heat came out firing, winning 13 of their first 20, but soon lost the handle on everything and fell into a month long struggle which saw them lose 11 of 12 games. After that low point, they’ve gone 15-5-1-1, including a five game winning streak.

The Heat are the final rung of the Flames organization to make the playoffs, joining the Flames (duh) and the Adirondack Thunder, who clinched three weeks ago. This is their first ever trip to the postseason in Stockton, the first time ever under head coach Ryan Huska, and the first time since 2013-14 for a Flames AHL affiliate. It will also be the first time since 2006-07 that the ECHL, AHL, and NHL Flames all made the playoffs (the ECHL affiliate back then was coached by current head coach Glen Gulutzan)

For just about every Heat player, this will be their first time in the postseason. The only Flames prospects with any AHL playoff experience are Brett Kulak, Emile Poirier and Garnet Hathaway. They all made their playoff debuts in 2014 for Abbotsford, appearing in four, three, and one games respectively. It’s going to be a very exciting time.

After one final game tomorrow against the Tuscon Roadrunners, Stockton will face the Pacific division winner San Jose Barracudas in the playoffs. Although there is an 18 point difference between the two in the standings, the Heat went a very good 5-5-2 against the powerhouse. I’m hoping for a Calgary-San Jose second round, just for a multi-league sports rivalry.

  • FuNky ANGER

    Is it even worth mentioning that Emile Poirer has playoff experience since he has been off the team due to personal reason for what seems like half the season. Will he ever even come back?

  • OKG

    Excited for some Matthew Phillips and Eetu Tuulola.

    P.S. Is anyone really shocked that a Jankowski led Stockton team is in the playoffs? This guy is just a winner in the truest sense of the word, never cheats you on a shift yet still manages to make things happen offensively. His +19 trails only Wotherspoon and his linemate Hathaway. His 56 points lead the team. His 27 goals lead the team. His 29 PIMs trail only Shinkaruk on the team ITO discipline (with 10 of them being a fight). This kid is the full package and has been well worth his draft spot since day one. Although I was pretty impressed by Tomas Hertl a few days ago, Janko is still the best guy we could have picked at 14+ not including an out-of-nowhere star (Parayko)

  • RKD

    Maybe they were inspired by the big league’s team winning streak. They finished 4th in the Pacific too. I’m liking the size on Jankowski, as a Rookie he finished 14th in league scoring 27G and 29A for 56 points, a plus 19 over 64 games. 0.88PPG.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    This is the way of the Future~! Baby Flames > Baby Oil …. Good Times! Future Looks Awesome!!!! Can’t wait to see it translate up to the NHL 🙂