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HGD 36: Heat play first game in Abbotsford since 2014 (8pm MT)

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Photo credit:Graphic by Mike Gould
Mike Gould
9 months ago
For the first time since the franchise relocated out of the city in 2014, the Stockton Heat will play a game in Abbotsford, BC on Thursday.
The Abbotsford Heat served as the primary tenant at the 7,000-seat Abbotsford Centre from 2009 to 2014 before moving to Glens Falls, NY for one season. Finally, in 2015, the Adirondack Flames relocated to Stockton, CA, reviving the “Heat” moniker in the process.
Having a Calgary Flames affiliate firmly in Vancouver Canucks territory always seemed like a curious fit. Now, with the Abbotsford Canucks playing out of the Abbotsford Centre, that issue has been rectified.
The Baby Canucks’ first AHL season since relocating from Utica has been an adventure. Despite boasting a veteran-laden forward group, Abbotsford’s 15–13–4 record ranks sixth in the Pacific Division.
Stockton (24–7–4) moved back into first place in the Pacific after defeating the Ontario Reign by a 2–1 score on Jan. 29. Thursday’s game will be Stockton’s first of three without @Juuso Valimaki, who was suspended for three games earlier this week after being assessed a game misconduct for physical abuse of an official (Category III) in the Ontario game.
The good news for Stockton: @Byron Froese and @Connor Mackey should return to the Heat lineup after being sent down by the Flames on Thursday morning. Froese and Mackey had previously been on the Flames’ taxi squad.

Projected lineups

These combinations are based, in part, on those used in these teams’ respective previous games. 
Stockton
@Jakob Pelletier – @Glenn Gawdin – @Matthew Phillips
@Justin Kirkland – @Byron Froese – @Walker Duehr
@Martin Pospisil – @Luke Philp – @Eetu Tuulola
@Mark Simpson – @Connor Zary – @Emilio Pettersen
@Connor Mackey – @Nick DeSimone
@Kevin Gravel – @Colton Poolman
@Ilya Solovyov – @Johannes Kinnvall
@Dustin Wolf
@Adam Werner
Abbotsford
@Phil Di Giuseppe – @Sheldon Dries – @Chase Wouters
@Yushiroh Hirano – @Nic Petan – @Sheldon Rempal
@Danila Klimovich – @John Stevens – @Will Lockwood
@Vincent Arseneau – @Carson Focht – @Brandon Cutler
@Jack Rathbone – @Matt Murphy
@Devante Stephens – @Madison Bowey
Adam Brubacher – @Alex Kannok Leipert
@Arturs Silovs
@Michael DiPietro

Scoring leaders

This section excludes players recalled to the NHL or on assignment to other leagues.
Stockton — @Matthew Phillips (14 goals, 33 points); @Jakob Pelletier (12 goals, 33 points); @Glenn Gawdin (12 goals, 32 points); @Luke Philp (nine goals, 21 points); @Byron Froese (10 goals, 19 points).
Abbotsford — @Sheldon Dries (16 goals, 29 points); @Sheldon Rempal (14 goals, 28 points); @Nic Petan (five goals, 23 points); @Phil Di Giuseppe (seven goals, 23 points); @John Stevens (seven goals, 13 points).

Players to watch

Stockton — Not a lot of Heat players have been hotter of late than @Justin Kirkland, who has already reached the 10-goal plateau this season for the first time of his AHL career. The Camrose product has four goals in his last five contests and 16 points in 33 games this season. Kirkland, 25, is on pace for a career-high 196 shots this season and could be in line for an NHL recall — and, possibly, his first big-league game — at some point down the stretch.
Abbotsford — It’s time for the world to get to know @Yushiroh Hirano. On Jan. 22, the 26-year-old forward became the first Japanese-trained forward to score an AHL goal, following it up with another goal (and six shots) the following night. Hirano previously played two ECHL seasons with the Wheeling Nailers from 2018 to 2020, scoring 88 points in 119 games. He currently plays on the Canucks’ second forward line.

How to watch

Thursday’s game in Abbotsford 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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