Photo Credit: Graphic by Mike Gould

HGD 65: Heat go for Pacific Division title against Canucks (8:00 p.m. MT)

The Stockton Heat will attempt to lock down the top spot in the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division on Friday when they play host to the Abbotsford Canucks at 8:00 p.m. MT.

The Heat (44–14–6) have been the top team in the AHL for much of the season and remain the club with the highest points percentage (.734). They can clinch the Pacific Division title on Friday with two points against Abbotsford and an Ontario Reign regulation loss in Colorado.

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Stockton has largely had its way with Abbotsford this season, compiling a 6–1–0 record in the first seven meetings between the two teams. All six of Stockton’s victories have come in regulation; the Canucks picked up their first (and only) win of the season series on Feb. 27, taking a 6–2 decision in Abbotsford.

This will be Stockton’s final home game before the 2022 Calder Cup playoffs begin. It will also be Fan Appreciation Night at Stockton Arena, with a jersey-off-our-backs raffle and what should be a great atmosphere on a Friday night.

Abbotsford (37–21–6) will aim to do everything in its power to spoil Stockton’s party. The Canucks enter Friday’s action on an eight-game point streak, with seven wins in that stretch.

Projected lineups

These combinations are based, in part, on those used in these teams’ respective previous games. 

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Stockton Heat

Jakob PelletierGlenn GawdinMatthew Phillips
Justin KirklandLuke PhilpMartin Pospisil
Emilio PettersenConnor ZaryWalker Duehr
Tyrell Goulbourne – Byron FroeseEetu Tuulola

Juuso ValimakiAndy Welinski
Kevin GravelNick DeSimone
Ilya SolovyovColton Poolman

Dustin Wolf
Adam Werner

Abbotsford Canucks

Jarid Lukosevicius – John Stevens – Sheldon Rempal
Brandon Cutler – Matt Alfaro – Danila Klimovich
Justin BaileyJustin DowlingJett Woo
Brannon McManus – Chase Wouters – Alex Kannok Liepert

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Guillaume BriseboisAshton Sautner
Jack RathboneNoah Juulsen
Brandon HickeyMadison Bowey

Michael DiPietro
Arturs Silovs

Scoring stars

This section excludes players recalled to the NHL or on assignment to other leagues.

Stockton Heat

  1. Matthew Phillips — 61 GP, 29 G, 65 P
  2. Jakob Pelletier — 62 GP, 27 G, 58 P
  3. Glenn Gawdin — 61 GP, 14 G, 49 P
  4. Justin Kirkland — 62 GP, 24 G, 46 P
  5. Luke Philp — 62 GP, 21 G, 44 P

Abbotsford Canucks

  1. Sheldon Rempal — 51 GP, 30 G, 64 P
  2. John Stevens — 64 GP, 19 G, 40 P
  3. Jack Rathbone — 35 GP, 10 G, 39 P
  4. Phil Di Giuseppe — 38 GP, 12 G, 35 P
  5. Justin Bailey — 28 GP, 14 G, 26 P

Heating up

Justin Kirkland remains one of the hottest players in the American Hockey League. He looks to be one of Stockton’s most formidable weapons in its arsenal for the playoffs.

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The big 25-year-old winger has 10 goals and 14 points in his last 12 games, most recently striking twice in Stockton’s 3–1 win over the Tucson Roadrunners on Wednesday.

How to watch

Friday’s game in Stockton will be broadcast on AHL TV (subscription required) and on Spreaker (audio only), with the opening puck-drop set for 8:00 p.m. MT.

FlamesNation contributor Paige Siewert will provide live game updates on her Twitter account. Additionally, you’ll be able to follow along at TheAHL.com.

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