Stockton has gone the whole 2021-22 season without losing two consecutive games. This changed on Friday night at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers’ affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors. Stockton only got on the board once but the silver lining was that they were able to extend this game outside of regulation to at least earn a point. Friday’s game ended with a final score of 2-1 in overtime and the Heat starting a losing streak of two in a row.
How they got there
It feels like an exaggeration to report the Heat have always had a perfect bounce-back game following losses this season but that is truly the case. The game prior to this one was played against the Abbotsford Canucks on Feb. 27, where the Canucks beat the Heat for the first time in team history. The final score in that game was 6-2. Five days later, they find themselves again without a victory, this time, with less of a gap between their own and their opponents scoring.
On Friday, it was Adam Werner in net. It had been a little while since he was between the pipes with his last start coming on Feb. 19, but overall, he was able to hold it down in this type of goaltending battle of a game. Werner stopped 19 of 21 of the Condors’ shots.
The Heat were initially the ones getting things started in this game, but it wasn’t as impactful as some of their better starts. Through the first 20 minutes, neither team was able to find the back of the net and even with a few power play opportunities for each side, shots were only 8-6 favouring Stockton.
This was the case through most of the second period as well. It wasn’t until there was 2:07 remaining in the period that someone lit the lamp. This came off the stick of Juuso Valimaki when he ripped a shot from the blue line. Assists went to Colton Poolman and Justin Kirkland.
Valimaki has been down with the Heat since early December and this was his first goal in the AHL this season. Quite a relief for the defenseman who started this season as a regular rostered player on the Flames. In 17 games played with Stockton this season now, he has eight points with one goal and seven assists.
The Heat again were the ones out-shooting their opponents through 40 minutes with 11 shots to the Condors six in the second frame. The answer-back goal did not take long to come, however. Just a mere 37 seconds into the third period, a Condors defenseman scored in a very similar fashion to Valimaki beating Werner glove side.
The Heat got two power play chances in the third and the Condors got one of their own but all the scoring through regulation came at even strength. No further scoring updates came in the third period so this game headed to overtime with a 1-1 score.
This game was 26 seconds away from a shootout, which the Heat have been very successful in this season but ultimately it was the Condors that were able to score the game-winning goal in the extra frame. The got deep into the zone and got a great angle on the final goal of the night.
When it was all said and done, the score finished up at 2-1 with the Heat outshooting the Condors 27-21. The Heat’s power play went 0-for-8 and their penalty kill was a perfect 6-for-6. Juuso Valimaki made it to the three stars, earning the third star of the night.
There were three lineup absences of note announced by the team just prior to puck-drop.
Eetu Tuulola played in the Heat’s last game on Febr. 27 so the announcement of his lower-body injury was a new update. Martin Pospisil has not been in the lineup since Feb. 19 and in his place, Glenn Gawdin has been spending time on the top line alongside Matthew Phillips and Jakob Pelletier.
Andy Welinski on the other hand has been out of the lineup since Jan. 4 and is still listed as week to week with no further updates at this time. The timeline for the return of these three is unknown at the moment.
Onto the next
This weekend series gives the Heat the chance to see a couple of teams as opposed to their regular weekend match-ups typically against the same opponent. They will keep things local, hosting another California team on Saturday night. The San Jose Barracuda will be in town Saturday night for a 7:00 p.m. MT puck drop. The Heat are ahead 3-1 in that season series and hopefully see their short losing streak come to an end in this next match-up.
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