HGD 45: Stockton looks to rebound against Barracuda (7:00 p.m. MT)

Photo credit:Graphic by Mike Gould
Mike Gould
1 year ago
The Stockton Heat are in the midst of their first losing streak of the season.
Yes, you read that right. 45 games into the 2021–22 campaign, the Stockton Heat have finally lost two consecutive games. After falling to the Abbotsford Canucks by a 6–2 score back on Feb. 27, the Heat lost 2–1 in overtime to the Bakersfield Condors on Mar. 4.
This year’s Heat squad still has yet to lose consecutive games in regulation time and is 12–0–1 in games immediately following losses. Their opponents on Saturday, the San Jose Barracuda, are coming off a 5–3 win over the Condors on Mar. 3.
The Heat boast a 3–1–0 record against the Barracuda in 2021–22, most notably winning by a 10–1 margin at Stockton Arena back on Dec. 7. @Glenn Gawdin and @Byron Froese both scored hat tricks in that game, with @Matthew Phillips adding two goals and an assist.

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Stockton’s lone loss to San Jose this season came at home on Dec. 31. Barracuda forward @Nick Merkley scored twice to help his team defeat the Heat 4–0.
Even after losing back-to-back games, Stockton’s .739 points percentage through 44 games leads the American Hockey League. The Heat (30–9–5) are still the only AHL team still with single-digit regulation wins in 2021–22.
San Jose (16–28–1) currently ranks ninth in the AHL Pacific Division with a .367 points percentage. The top seven teams in the Pacific will qualify for the 2022 Calder Cup playoffs, but it looks unlikely that the Barracuda will be part of that group.

Projected lineups

These combinations are based, in part, on those used in these teams’ respective previous games. 
@Jakob Pelletier – @Glenn Gawdin – @Matthew Phillips
@Eetu Tuulola – @Byron Froese – @Walker Duehr
@Justin Kirkland – @Connor Zary – @Luke Philp
@Alex Gallant – @Mark Simpson – @Emilio Pettersen
@Juuso Valimaki – @Nick DeSimone
@Connor Mackey – @Colton Poolman
@Kevin Gravel – @Ilya Solovyov
@Dustin Wolf
@Adam Werner
San Jose
@Nick Merkley – @Lane Pederson – @Adam Raska
@Joachim Blichfeld – @John Leonard – @Jake McGrew
@Jayden Halbgewachs – @Sasha Chmelevski – @Adam Weinger
@Timur Ibragimov – @Kyle Topping – @Dillon Hamaliuk
@Nick Cicek – @Mark Alt
@Artemi Kniazev – Patrick Holway
@Santeri Hatakka – @Montana Onyebuchi
@Alexei Melnichuk
Zachary Emond

Scoring leaders

This section excludes players recalled to the NHL or on assignment to other leagues.
Stockton — @Matthew Phillips (20 goals, 47 points); @Jakob Pelletier (16 goals, 41 points); @Glenn Gawdin (12 goals, 40 points); @Luke Philp (16 goals, 28 points); @Justin Kirkland (14 goals, 27 points).
San Jose — @Jayden Halbgewachs (14 goals, 30 points); @Joachim Blichfeld (16 goals, 40 points); @Nick Merkley (nine goals, 29 points); @Sasha Chmelevski (nine goals, 24 points); @John Leonard (12 goals, 23 points).

Heating up

It was nice to see @Juuso Valimaki bump his pointless slump with Stockton’s lone marker in Friday’s 2–1 loss to Bakersfield. The 23-year-old defenseman now has one goal and seven assists in 17 games with the Heat this season.
Entering Friday’s contest, Valimaki had gone without a point in his previous eight games.

How to watch

Saturday’s game in Stockton will be broadcast on AHL TV (subscription required) and on Spreaker (audio only), with the opening puck-drop set for 7:00 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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