Deja vu as Stockton Heat lose to Manitoba 4-1


That is the best word to use for Wednesday night’s 4-1 Heat loss to the Manitoba Moose. To quote Rod Pelley, who scored the lone goal for Stockton, “We got out-worked.” Um… yeah. Thanks, Captain Obvious.

After two consecutive games scoring only a single goal per contest, coach Ryan Huska, in what I can only deem to be to trying to awaken a sagging offense, juggled the lines. Note to Huska, this didn’t work.

Mangiapane Hrivik Hathaway
Klimchuk Cramarossa Foo
Shinkaruk Lomberg Poirier
Carroll Pelley Gazdic
Wotherspoon Ollas-Mattsson
Kylington Goloubef
Robak Healey

There was an Austin Carroll sighting. He dropped the gloves mid-way through the first. I believe that was pent-up energy from wearing a suit too often and a diet of popcorn. From then on, he was unmemorable.

Game play

The first period was decent. The Heat were up 1-0 to end the first and were outshooting the Moose 14-8. Some of those were good chances; some were just weak attempts. With the exception of the Pelley goal, where Luke Gazdic was parked in front and provided a very big screen, the Heat played “Where’s Waldo” in front of the Manitoba goaltender.

When the team came out on the ice for the second period, it was clear they did not have any urgency or drive. Poor clearing attempts, that stupid drop pass on the power play (please burn that page in the playbook), the predictable pass off the left boards to enter the zone, and blind cross-ice and back passes led to unnecessary mid-ice play and no offense. Throw in a shaky goaltender who did not secure the rebound, and it was a recipe for defeat.

The first goal that Jon Gillies gave up in the second period was a tip in front of the net on the power play. On the game winner for the Moose in the third, he had a clear view and just plain missed it. The last goal he allowed was the direct result of a failed clearing attempt, but he should have had it. Both third period Manitoba goals beat Gillies high side. This is something I am going to need to keep an eye on when he is in net from now on.

Out of the 28 saves he made, I would say he controlled the rebound on maybe six. Maybe. I still don’t understand why Huska trots out Gillies again when he just lost to this same team four days earlier and after the performance David Rittich provided on Saturday. GG syndrome?

Bright spots

The Heat only took two penalties (Carroll’s fighting penalty not included) and killed both off. Tyler Wotherspoon had a good game defensively and added four shots. And it was $.50 wings and $4 bottomless popcorn night! Yes, that is a bright spot.

Low lights

The stats show that the top line had 11 shots total, but I can’t remember most of them. A defenseman (Cody Goloubef) tied for the most shots with five on the night. Out of the 36 SOG, I would put 10 or fewer as high quality shots.

How can you get out-worked by a team that beat you by the same score four days ago? It’s not like you haven’t seen them before.

Final thoughts

It would be interesting to find out what the Calgary top brass thought after their visit to Stockton over the weekend. Were they here to get a first-hand look at the farm? Who stood out to them? I believe it was their decision to have Rittich in goal on Saturday so they had a peek at both netminders during this trip. If anyone from FN has any idea, I would sure like to know.

Upcoming schedule

The Heat hit the road to take on the San Diego Gulls this Friday and then host Bakersfield next Friday and Saturday.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Wow, the Center position down in Stockton looks mighty thin… What happened to Brett Pollock & Brett Findlay? as well Hunter Shinkaruk is listed as a C/LW Why is he not being used at Center when they seem to be so weak in that position? Odd that Hrivik is listed as a RW (yet other hockey sights have him as LW?) and now he is a C down in Stockton. Anyways, How did Austin do with his fight and his game play? THX ~ SF.

    • freethe flames

      I have said for a long time that the depth in the organization at center outside of the big club is weak. Listening to the RedWings GM talk about developing players included having veterans on the farm that can teach the kids how to be professionals; I never seem to feel that the Flames get this.

      On a different note how is Poirier doing? I know his counting stats are not as good as one would hope; but how is he playing? I don’t think he ever gets PP time? Is he on the the PK? Also how has AOM played?

      • Stockton's Finest

        Hey Free! I think Poirier has played very good this year. I would like to see more of the line he was on Wednesday (Shinkaruk/Lomberg/Poirier) as they played together last year on various lines together as wingers. Poirier does get PK time but not much, if any, PP time.
        AOM has looked good. It took him about half a period to get used to playing with Spooner but after that, these 2 play nice together. Once Andersson comes back (if he does) then AOM and Healey or Robak make a nice bottom pair.

        • freethe flames

          At some point I expect Andersson will be sent back to Stockton although if he and Kulak continue to play like they did last night the Flames may have to make a tough decision. Again the lack of skilled centers in my mind limit the development of the wingers.

    • Stockton's Finest

      Hi Big Mouth! On the stat sheet, there are only 4 centers listed: Pelley, Hrivik, Findlay, and Lomberg. Shinkaruk has played LW for as long as I have watched him. Surpringing that Huska sat Findlay and used Cramarossa at center. Pollock has only played in one game but is also listed as LW.
      Carroll’s fight was good. He landed some good blows. I doubt he plays tonight in San Diego.

      • ThisBigMouthIsRight

        Thanks SF.
        Yes I noticed a difference of players position on many pages. The Stockton Roster is the most current I would imagine? I usually go to CapFriendly, NHL.com, Hockeydb.com, Hockeyreference.com etc. for example : Hunter Shinkaruk on CF = Center… on NHL.c = Center… on Hdb = LW… on HR = Center… but on StocktonR = LW… Its interesting to see how the young guys get shifted around at the different positions. It the same for lots of prospects I guess its up to a coaches discretion wherever they are playing. Great to See the Heat Take the W tonight! Have a good one!

        • Stockton's Finest

          Good win on Friday. Top line is better with Findlay centering it. Leave Hrivik between Klimchuk and Foo. Let them continue to build that chemistry.
          Interesting line combos last night. I was out at dinner and didn’t listen, but from the notes and roster, I imagine that Lomberg centered Shinkaruk and Pollock while Pelley has Glass and Carroll.
          Defense looked to be Tspoon with Robak, the usual Kylington and Goloubef, with Healey and Yevenko as bottom pair.
          Rittich raises his GAA to 2.20 and his save % is at .929.
          Now a week off before returning back to Stockton for a weekend double header against Bakersfield.

          • Stockton's Finest

            Hey Free,
            Usually they practice for about an hour or two a day. They hit the gym. They watch game film.
            And this is the time we get the community activities. With last week’s Hockey Fights Cancer, I would imagine a trip to a children’s hospital is planned. Maybe some other local charities and sponsors.

          • ThisBigMouthIsRight

            Hey SF,
            Whats the deal with No game highlights from the Heat(6)~ San Diego Gulls (3) Game last night? Usually the S-H web page has them? Just Curious if you knew why.