The American Hockey League affiliate of the Calgary Flames, the Stockton Heat, began their playoff journey this evening in the familiar confines of the SAP Center in San Jose. Their opponents were the Pacific Division’s regular season champions, the San Jose Barracuda. Despite playing a high tempo game with many good chances, the Heat lost Game 1 of their best-of-five series by a 4-0 score.
The Heat arguably generated dangerous chances more frequently than the Barracuda, though the home side generated more shots on Heat goaltender Jon Gillies. The Barracuda scored four goals:
- A wrist shot by Tim Heed on the rush which beat Gillies high on his glove side in the first period to make it 1-0.
- A wrist shot by Ryan Carpenter on a two-on-one rush that beat him high glove side in the second period. This time, Heat defender Michael Kostka got caught pinching as the Heat pressured in the offensive zone. That left Tyler Wotherspoon all alone and he embraced the Ian White Starfish on the two-on-one, neither forcing the pass or blocking it in any way, allowing Buddy Robinson to feed Carpenter for the nice shot and goal.
- Just six seconds after Andrew Mangiapane’s third period slashing penalty expired, Mirco Mueller’s point shot was tipped (through traffic) by Rourke Chartier. That tip trickled through Gillies’ pads and, as Gillies sprawled to try to retrieve it, Carpenter knocked in the loose puck from the side of the crease to make it 3-0. It wasn’t technically a power play goal, but functionally it was because Mangiapane was barely back on the ice.
- Kevin LaBanc added an empty netter to make it 4-0. It was San Jose’s third attempt at an empty net goal, including one attempt that resulted in a pretty good save by Rasmus Andersson.
Here’s the Wotherspoon play on the 2-0 goal:
— San Jose Barracuda (@sjbarracuda) April 22, 2017
Why The Heat Lost
San Jose goalie Troy Grosenick is very good. He was just named the AHL’s best goalie this season. He lived up to that reputation tonight, though the Heat could have made his life more difficult. The Heat generated a lot of chances, but many of them missed the net. Gillies was busier than Groesnick overall, and the Barracuda forwards did a better job putting traffic in front of him.
It’s a shame, too, because the Heat did a lot of things well. They played with speed really nice and spent a lot of time in San Jose’s end. They just couldn’t translate zone time into goals.
Hunter Shinkaruk led the way with five shots and he was consistently speedy and dangerous all night.
Stick-taps to Ryan Lomberg, Brett Kulak, Mark Jankowski, Andersson and Gillies, as well.
Tyler Wotherspoon – Michael Kostka
Brett Kulak – Rasmus Andersson
Oliver Kylington – Keith Aulie
Scratches: G Tyler Parsons, D Kayle Doetzel, D Kenney Morrison, D Adam Ollas Mattsson, D Josh Healey, F Cam Braes, F Matthew Phillips, F Matt Frattin, F Hunter Smith, F Daniel Pribyl
Game 2 goes Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. MT from San Jose.