Heat Playoff Post-Game: Stockton sunk by late Leivo breakaway in Game 2 heartbreaker

Photo credit:Graphic by Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
For the second consecutive game, the Stockton Heat and the Chicago Wolves engaged in a very entertaining back and forth hockey game in the American Hockey League’s Western Conference Final series. For the second consecutive game, the Heat played quite well but just couldn’t get the one goal they needed to capture victory.
A breakaway goal from Josh Leivo with just 17 seconds left in regulation spelled the difference in a 3-2 Wolves victory over Stockton to give Chicago a 2-0 series lead.

The flow of the game

The Heat got off to a rough start, as Chicago went on an odd-man rush off the opening face-off, with Jack Drury picking the top corner on Dustin Wolf to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead just 17 seconds into the game.
Stockton pushed back after the Wolves scored, generating a flurry of chances that were momentarily disrupted by a Martin Pospisil hooking minor. But on that Wolves power play, Stockton managed to tie the game up.
Eetu Tuulola drove into the Chicago end on a one-on-three rush and chucked the puck at Wolves netminder Pyotr Kochetkov. The puck went off Kochetkov, took a weird hop into the air, and trickled into the net behind him to tie the game at 1-1.
Stockton got a late first period power play and generated four shots. After the intermission, they continued their onslaught and amassed the first four shots of the next period, but Kochetkov stood tall.
Midway through the period, Stockton got their first lead of the evening. Justin Kirkland started and ended the scoring sequence, making some nice moves in the defensive zone to generate some speed through the neutral zone, then beating out the Wolves defenders off the rush and beating Kochetkov with a wrist shot to give the Heat a 2-1 advantage.
But that lead would not last, sadly. Less than four minutes later, with Tyrell Goulbourne in the penalty box, Noel Gunler scored to even the game up at 2-2. It was the fourth Chicago power play goal in two games thus far in the series.
Both team had good looks in the third period, but neither could bury them. Just when it looked like we would be seeing our second overtime game of this series, the Wolves got a late goal in regulation to seal the deal.
Glenn Gawdin got the puck in the Chicago zone at the left point. He attempted to pass to the trailing player entering the zone to create a chance, but Wolves defender Jesper Sellgren got his stick in the lane, deflecting the pass into the neutral zone for Josh Leivo. Leivo out-raced the Heat defenders for a breakaway and beat Wolf to give Chicago a 3-2 victory.
Shots were 35-21 Stockton in the game and perhaps the Heat deserved a better fate. They seemed to lose steam in the third period, though, and shots were even at 9-9 in the final period.
For the second game in this series, the Heat had a chance to win. For the second time in this series, they found ways to not win.


Here’s a quick snapshot of how each team lined up for Game 2, more or less.
@Jakob Pelletier – @Glenn Gawdin – @Matthew Phillips
@Justin Kirkland – @Luke Philp – @Martin Pospisil
@Emilio Pettersen – @Connor Zary – @Eetu Tuulola
@Tyrell Goulbourne – @Byron Froese – @Walker Duehr
@Connor Mackey – @Andy Welinski
@Kevin Gravel – @Nick DeSimone
@Colton Poolman – @Juuso Valimaki
@Dustin Wolf
@Adam Werner
Compared to their Game 1 lineup, Stockton made two changes. @Adam Ruzicka and @Alex Gallant came out in favour of Goulbourne and Pettersen.
The Heat had a lot of near-miss injury scares in this game. Froese missed some time after blocking a shot up high. Philp also went to the locker room for treatment. Jamieson Rees fell into Wolf in the line period awkwardly. Pettersen took a stick to the face and looked like he was checking for dental damage.
@Josh Leivo – @Jack Drury – @David Gust
@C.J. Smith – @Andrew Poturalski – @Stefan Noesen
@Richard Panik – @Spencer Smallman – @Noel Gunler
@Jamieson Rees – @Vasiliy Ponomarev – @Stelio Mattheos
@Jesper Sellgren – @Jalen Chatfield
@Cavan Fitzgerald – @Josh Jacobs
@Maxime Lajoie – @Joey Keane
@Pyotr Kochetkov
@Alex Lyon
After Lyon started (and won) Game 1, Kochetkov got the net for Game 2 and won.

Next up

This series is operating under a 2-3-2 model, so the next three games (if necessary) will take place in Stockton Arena.
Game 3 is Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. MT on AHL TV and begins a potential stretch of three games in four nights within the series. Game 4 is Friday and Game 5 (if necessary) is Saturday.


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