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Photo Credit: Graphic by Mike Gould. All logos property of their respective teams.

HGD 1: The Heat open their season against the Marlies (2 pm MT, free on AHLTV.com)

Welcome to the 2020-21 Stockton Heat season!

The Heat (0-0-0) are the final American Hockey League team to get their season underway, opening their schedule today at 2:00 p.m. MT against the Toronto Marlies (2-2-0).

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Lineups remain to be announced but Connor Zary, Dmitry Zavgorodniy, Emilio Pettersen, and Colton Poolman, among others, all look set to make their AHL debuts on Sunday.

This season marks the first time the Flames’ AHL affiliate has also played out of Calgary.

The visiting Marlies are on a two-game losing streak, having lost both of their previous two contests to the Manitoba Moose after opening their season with consecutive wins in Winnipeg.

Former Flame Kenny Agostino has led the way offensively for Toronto, scoring a goal and adding three assists in four games. Marlies defenseman and former first-round pick Timothy Liljegren has four assists on the season in four games, while defenseman Calle Rosen leads the Marlies with three goals (but has zero assists).

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The Marlies have never before faced the Heat in a game. This season will be very unique for the Heat in that regard: among their four Canadian Division opponents, the Heat have only ever played a game against the Moose. Their match-ups against the Marlies, Laval Rocket, and Belleville Senators will all be firsts for the team.

Players to watch

Stockton — Matthew Phillips. With Glenn Gawdin currently plying his trade on the NHL roster, Phillips might be the biggest star on the Heat. The versatile 5’7″ forward recorded 33 points in 38 games for the Heat last year before a knee injury prematurely ended his season.

Toronto — Nick Robertson. The 5’9″ winger made his NHL debut in the playoff bubble last year and scored a goal in four games. Prior to that, he starred for the OHL’s Peterborough Petes and was Toronto’s second-round selection (and first pick) in the 2019 Draft. This year is Robertson’s first in the AHL; to this point, he has a goal and three points in four games.

How to watch

This game is being broadcast for free on AHLTV.com. Puck-drop will be at 2:00 PM Mountain time. Live game updates can be found on Twitter at @miketgould and @theheatbeat, or online at TheAHL.com.

If you wish to watch Heat games after this one, you will need to purchase an AHL TV subscription — it costs $34.99 USD to subscribe and watch every Stockton contest. For an additional $10, you can watch any AHL game this year.