Photo Credit: Graphic by Mike Gould

Heat Playoff Game Day: Welcoming the Wolves to Stockton (7:30 p.m. MT)

The Stockton Heat need to win four more games to advance to the Calder Cup Final. The Chicago Wolves need just two.

The Wolves won Games 1 and 2 in Chicago to start the AHL Western Conference Final, setting the stage for a critical three-game stretch at Stockton Arena.

The Heat trail the Wolves 2–0 but will have three opportunities to pick up wins on home ice before the series shifts back to Chicago (if necessary) for Games 6 and 7.

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It’s not as though the Heat haven’t been competitive in this series. Game 1 ended 5–4 in overtime. Stockton outshot the Wolves 35–21 in Game 2 but fell 3–2 on a Josh Leivo breakaway goal with just 18 seconds remaining in the third period.

They’ve come close, but not close enough. Now, they’ll have a chance to change that on their home turf.

Here’s something to watch: Jakob Pelletier, Adam Ruzicka, and Matthew Phillips enter Game 3 having combined for zero points against the Wolves thus far. Zero!

Justin Kirkland remains hot and enters Wednesday’s action on a seven-game point streak. Can he keep the good times rolling in Game 3?

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Projected lineups

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

Stockton Heat

Jakob PelletierAdam RuzickaMatthew Phillips
Justin KirklandLuke PhilpMartin Pospisil
Connor ZaryGlenn GawdinEetu Tuulola
Alex GallantByron FroeseWalker Duehr

Connor MackeyAndy Welinski
Juuso ValimakiColton Poolman
Kevin GravelNick DeSimone

Dustin Wolf
Adam Werner

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Chicago Wolves

CJ Smith – Andrew PoturalskiStefan Noesen
Josh LeivoJack Drury – David Gust
Noel Gunler – Vasili Ponomarev – Richard Panik
Stelio Mattheos – Jamieson Rees – Spencer Smallman

Max Lajoie – Jalen Chatfield
Jesper Sellgren – Joey Keane
Cavan Fitzgerald – Josh Jacobs

Alex Lyon
Pyotr Kochetkov

Playoff scoring stars

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

Stockton Heat

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  1. Justin Kirkland — 9 GP, 6 G, 9 P
  2. Matthew Phillips — 9 GP, 3 G, 7 P
  3. Jakob Pelletier — 9 GP, 3 G, 6 P
  4. Andy Welinski — 9 GP, 1 G, 6 P
  5. Byron Froese — 9 GP, 1 G, 6 P

Chicago Wolves

  1. Josh Leivo — 9 GP, 9 G, 17 P
  2. Jack Drury — 9 GP, 6 G, 12 P
  3. Stefan Noesen — 9 GP, 6 G, 11 P
  4. Andrew Poturalski — 9 GP, 3 G, 10 P
  5. David Gust — 9 GP, 3 G, 9 P

Heating up

Eetu Tuulola has scored some wild goals in the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs, and he continued that trend in Game 2 with an improbable shorthanded goal midway through the first period.

Tuulola, a 24-year-old pending RFA, has three goals and an assist in nine playoff games this year.


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How to watch

Game 3 in Stockton will be broadcast on AHL TV (subscription required) and on Spreaker (audio only), with the opening puck-drop set for 7:30 p.m. MT.

FlamesNation contributors Paige Siewert and Mike Gould will provide live game updates on Twitter. Additionally, you’ll be able to follow along at TheAHL.com.


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