Game two of the Stockton Heat and Colorado Eagles weekend series took place on Saturday afternoon and it certainly was a tough one for the Heat. They came into the game with the momentum of the night previous, winning 3-2 in OT. However, things had changed since that point. Two players were taken out of the lineup prior to game time and directly correlated or not, the night finished for the Heat with a 5-1 loss.
The top line took another hit prior to this game as Matthew Phillips was placed in COVID-19 protocol. No further updates have been shared at this time and the timeline for his return is unclear at this point. The Heat have been able to keep their Covid-related losses to a minimum throughout the pandemic so hopefully, this situation is kept isolated and the team continues to stay healthy down the stretch.
Another lineup change of note was defenceman Kevin Gravel. Gravel had played in all 14 Heat games up until this point and earned four points with a goal and three assists. He was listed as day-to-day and Gravel’s estimated return will also be determined at a later date.
The Heat are still running with a healthy depth so Emilio Pettersen slid into the lineup for Phillips and Yan Kuznetsov took Gravel’s place.
Just an off night?
Not a whole lot of note from a game like this. The Eagles goals weren’t exactly all highlight-reel goals as they appeared to be a repeated theme of beating the Heat defence and sneaking a shot past Adam Werner. The Eagles played a fast game and repeatedly caught the Heat on their heels.
Werner wasn’t getting peppered by shots by any means either. He only faced 24 Eagles shots and saved 19 of them. Justus Annunen of the Eagles faced quite a few more pucks with 37 Heat shots. The only shot that made it past him was one by Martin Pospisil in the third period.
By this is point in the game, the Eagles were ahead by three. Pospisil’s goal came at 4:48 into the third period and it unfortunately was not enough to stir up a late comeback in this game. Emilio Pettersen and Andy Welinski picked up the assists on the only Heat goal of the night.
Later in the third, the Eagles tacked on two more goals and secured their 5-1 victory. They still have a lot of hockey to play against each other with the next match-up between these teams taking place in just under a month on Fri., Dec. 17.
The Heat have just a handful of days before their next game. They will return home to host the Bakersfield Condors at 7:30 p.m. MT on Wednesday before their weekend series at home against the San Diego Gulls. This loss dropped the Heat’s spot in the standings by one as the Ontario Reign overtook them. The Heat now sit at third in the AHL and second in the Pacific Division.
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