It’s Silver Knights week as the Stockton Heat kicked off their first of three games against Henderson on Wednesday night. They will play each other three times in a four-night span and they are not going to be easy games by any means. The Silver Knights have been one of the Heat’s tougher opponents with the season series sitting at 2-3-1-0 going into this mid-week match-up. Thankfully, one more point was tacked onto the win column when the Heat beat the Silver Knights 4-3 in overtime in game one. 

Putting in the effort where it counts

It doesn’t always matter who starts the game. It’s much more important who finishes it. The Heat kept their production to the back half of this game and luckily for them, it didn’t come too late. Adam Werner got the start in net for his first start in the month of April and put up a 17 save effort in his 10th win of the season.
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Henderson got the scoring started in the first period. 8:09 into the game a Silver Knight skater scored his first professional goal on the power play. Werner was a little too casual on this play and didn’t appear to be necessarily ready for the shot. 
The next goal would not occur for about a whole other 20 minutes. This one, again a strike on the Henderson power play. To avoid a big zero on the board for the Heat going into the second intermission, Matthew Phillips got one back on a Heat power play of their own with just 33 seconds remaining in the period. Assists went to Jakob Pelletier and Martin Pospisil.
This goal was a big one not only to put the Heat in a better position in the game but to also recognize Jakob Pelletier as the exceptional rookie he is. His assist on Phillips’ goal put his point total up to 57, breaking and setting a new record for Heat rookie scoring. 
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In the third, the Silver Knights gave it about four minutes before they earned back their two-goal lead to put the score up to 3-1. The Heat’s response? Dig themselves out of that hole in a 14-second span. It started with Emilio Pettersen’s redirect 13:09 into the third. His goal was assisted by Nick DeSimone and Walker Duehr.
Next up was Eetu Tuulola with Glenn Gawdin picking up the helper at 13:23. It was reviewed and determined to be a good goal. This was the third goal review of the night and the first one to work in favour of the Heat. 
Regulation was unable to decide anything so this game went to overtime. Overtime was brief with Byron Froese scoring 44 seconds in on the first and only shot of the extra frame. He appeared to sneak a shot over the shoulder of the Silver Knights goaltender and it found its way to the back of the net.
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Froese picked up the first star of the night with this game-winner and Tuulola earned the second star for his tying goal in the third. 

Heavy on the one-sided shooting

On the scoresheet, the scoring opportunities and production efforts were heavily weighing on the side of the Heat. They finished the night out-shooting the Silver Knights 45-23, hitting double digits every single period. Give credit where credit is due, their opposing goaltender was doing a lot with not so much help from his defence.
On the other end, this team has got to know by now that they have to tighten things up with their backup in the net. Adam Werner has his good games and his not so good games. The team recognizes they need to keep as many shots away from him as possible as he’s not going to play the same type of game they are used to with Dustin Wolf in net. Especially when they are playing strong teams.
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Regardless, Werner finished the night with a .870 save percentage and a 2.98 GAA and that was enough in this situation. Hopefully, it was a little bit of a confidence boost within himself and his teammates with him taking a backseat to their recent games. 
The Heat have a playoff spot. They are on their way to clinching the top spot in the Pacific Division as well. The reality is, that Dustin Wolf can not and will not play every game in the playoffs if they make a serious run. They need Werner and they seem to have figured out a system for success with him between the pipes.

Next up

Both teams have Thursday off of games to get ramped up for the weekend ahead of them. They will play each other again on Friday night for one of AHL.tv’s free games of the week. They will then finish up their three-game series and their season series on Saturday evening. All these match-ups are road games for the Heat. Friday’s game is a later one for the fans in the mountain time zone with an 8:00 p.m. MT start time.
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