HGD 3: Wrapping up a back-to-back against the Marlies (7:30 pm MT, AHL TV)
Photo credit:Graphic by Mike Gould.
By Mike Gould1 year ago
Talk about a day filled with Calgary/Toronto matchups.
One hour after the Flames take to the Scotiabank Arena ice to do battle with the Toronto Maple Leafs, their AHL affiliate from Stockton will be introduced at the Scotiabank Saddledome for the third of a four-game set against the Toronto Marlies.
The Flames beat the Leafs 3-0 on Monday but the Stockton Heat have had no such luck against the Baby Leafs. The Heat are winless in two tries against the Marlies this season, falling 7-1 on opening day before improving slightly in a 5-1 decision yesterday.
On the Marlies’ side, goaltender Andrew D’Agostini has been a revelation. The 27-year-old netminder is in his first American Hockey League season after spending five years with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes, two years in the OUA with the University of Guelph, parts of six seasons in the ECHL, and even 10 games in the Southern Professional Hockey League just two years ago.
D’Agostini split the 2019-20 season between three ECHL clubs and still remains without a contract this season. He’s currently a member of the Marlies on a professional tryout, but he’s started each of the team’s first six games.
The result? A 4-2-0 record with a .933 save percentage and some miraculous stops. No single Marlie has frustrated the Heat more over the last two games than D’Agostini, who has stopped 61 of the 63 shots he’s faced against Stockton.
D’Agostini’s HockeyDB page is a sight to behold. His story, as told here by the Athletic‘s Joshua Kloke, is truly remarkable. At this rate, D’Agostini will almost certainly find himself with a contract—perhaps even of the two-way NHL variety—in the near future.
Former OHLer Kai Edmonds has served as D’Agostini’s backup to begin the season. It remains to be seen whether Marlies coach Greg Moore will continue to ride on his hot hand tonight or whether he’ll deploy his second option in the back-to-back scenario.
The Heat need to avoid getting into a big hole early. They allowed two goals in the first period of the season opener and that early deficit quickly snowballed into a 6-0 Marlies lead by the 13:20 mark of the middle frame. Two nights later, Heat goalie Garret Sparks allowed two goals on the first five shots he faced.
Heat coach Cail MacLean might be inclined to return to his starter from opening day, Dustin Wolf, on Wednesday. Wolf struggled in his first professional outing, allowing five goals on 11 shots, while Sparks has since surrendered seven goals on 44 shots.
Flames 2020 first-round pick Connor Zary was elevated to Stockton’s top line on Tuesday, playing on the left wing beside Adam Ruzicka and Matthew Phillips. Emilio Pettersen was shifted to a unit with Martin Pospisil and Eetu Tuulola; meanwhile, Justin Kirkland joined Luke Philp and Dmitry Zavgorodniy on the second line.
Four-year U SPORTS Veteran Mark Simpson made his AHL debut on Tuesday and set up the only Heat goal, scored by Alex Gallant. Simpson replaced Colton Beck in the lineup for Stockton, which ran with 11 forwards and seven defensemen for the second consecutive game.
Players to watch
Stockton — Connor Mackey. The 24-year-old AHL rookie already has three NHL games under his belt and could be key in elevating the Heat to a victory for the first time this season. Mackey could see deployment on both special teams for Stockton this evening. He primarily skated on a pairing with Alex Petrovic yesterday.
Toronto — Joey Anderson. Acquired by the Maple Leafs this off-season in the Andreas Johnsson-to-New Jersey trade, Anderson popped off with two goals on Tuesday and was named the game’s first star. The Devils’ third-rounder from 2016 emerged as a top AHL player in 2019-20, scoring 15 goals and 34 points in 44 games for the Binghamton Devils.
How to watch
This game will be broadcast on AHLTV.com (subscription required). Puck-drop will be at 7:30 p.m. MT. Live game updates can be found on Twitter at @miketgould and @theheatbeat, or online at TheAHL.com.
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