The Stockton Heat clawed back from a deficit in their first round series with the San Jose Barracuda to force a do-or-die Game 5. They proceeded to get wildly, wildly out-shot by the Barracuda. And their star goalie left the game after the first period, likely due to an injury.
Despite all of these obstacles, Stockton was full marks in a razor-thin 2-1 overtime loss to San Jose. They lost their Best of 5 series 3-2, but they put up a heck of a fight.
Nobody scored in the first period. Stockton was back on their heels for the most part, with David Rittich holding the fort. Shots were 15-9 Barracuda.
Unfortunately, Jon Gillies came in for an apparently injured Rittich after 20 minutes – Rittich was seemingly hurt in a late period collision. The Heat were out-shot 23-4 in the period. Gillies was excellent. Stockton managed to score off a goal-mouth scramble, with a loose puck squirting out to Jamie Devane who buried a wrister past Troy Grosenick to make it 1-0.
The third period was much more even, but a miscue by Stockton’s defense cost them. Oliver Kylington coughed up a puck at his own blueline, giving the Barracuda a two-on-one chance. Kayle Doetzel busted out the Ian White Memorial Starfish and Timo Meier beat Gillies with a wrister to make it 1-1. Shots were 10-10, sending things to overtime.
Shots and chances were about even in overtime. Stockton were given a golden chance after the Barracuda took a “puck over glass” delay of game penalty. But Michael Kostka coughed the puck up at the blueline, allowing Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Carpenter to go in on a shorthanded two-on-one. Carpenter buried a wrister to win the game 3-2.
Why The Heat Lost
In a word? Turnovers. The team was on their heels for much of the duration, but they seemed to defend well and they gave their goalies enough space to do their thing. But two big turnovers at bad times – Kylington in the third and Kostka in overtime – led to odd-man rushes and big San Jose goals. The game was close enough that those miscues were enough to tilt the game and swing the series.
Gotta go with Gillies.
The Heat basically gave the reins for the series over to Rittich after pulling Gillies in Game 2. They started Rittich in two consecutive “do or die” games. In the second game, Rittich went down after a period and Gillies had to go in cold to face a team that out-played Stockton in the first period.
After all that, Gillies was full marks and did everything he could to keep Stockton in the game.
Tyler Wotherspoon – Michael Kostka
Brett Kulak – Rasmus Andersson
Oliver Kylington – Kayle Doetzel
Scratches: G Tyler Parsons, D Kenney Morrison, D Keegan Kanzig, D Adam Ollas Mattsson, D Keith Aulie, D Josh Healey, F Matthew Phillips, F Morgan Klimchuk, F Emile Poirier, F Brett Pollock, F Hunter Smith, F Ryan Lomberg, F Daniel Pribyl, F Cam Braes, F Mikkel Aagaard
Dube made his pro debut. He was pretty decent, buzzing around pretty well and making some smart plays.
The Heat are done for the 2016-17 season. We’ll see them all again in the fall, most likely starting with the 2017 Young Stars Classic tournament in Penticton in September.