If you haven’t figured it out yet, Jakob Pelletier is very good at hockey. Stockton’s Wednesday night home game against the San Diego Gulls was his latest display of exceptional talent when he scored his first professional hat trick to lead the Stockton Heat to a 5-2 victory. Outside of Pelletier’s individual effort, the team also contributed to a 47 shot night and a solid 31 save performance for Dustin Wolf.

Answering back

The last time the Heat found themselves on the ice opposite the San Diego Gulls, the results were not in their favour. Their last game against each other was Jan. 19 where the Heat fell 3-2. In the first two periods of their game, they were doing their job keeping up with the Gulls scoring to ensure the score didn’t fall out of their control this time.
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The Gulls opened up the scoring 4:44 into the first, but in Eetu Tuulola’s return from injury, he only let that lead last for about a minute. Tuulola scored his ninth goal of the season after getting a small piece of a rebound. Alex Gallant and Kevin Gravel picked up assists.
By the end of the first, the score was still tied up at 1-1 but the Heat had a dramatic 17-4 shot advantage. In the second period, it was once again the Gulls who pulled ahead in scoring. This lead was also short-lived when Jakob Pelletier scored his first of the night off a bank pass from Connor Mackey.
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Pelletier was also the reason for Stockton’s first lead of the night when he scored 5:43 into the third period on the power play. Connor Mackey also assisted on this goal as well as Glenn Gawdin this time. Pelletier was in the right place at the right time as he tapped in Mackey’s one-timer.
The Heat’s scoring efforts continued in the third with Walker Duehr scoring the fourth goal of the night and his seventh goal of the season. Pelletier snuck in one final goal in the last 30 seconds of the game with an empty-net goal. Not a “true” hat trick to some but still a hat trick on the scoresheet.

One of the AHL’s top rookies

Pelletier has definitely made the most of his first professional season. He earned his place on the Heat’s top line and has kept that position the whole season. His scoring has been huge for the Heat with clutch game winners and multi-point nights to give his goaltenders a bit of a cushion to work with. He plays with Matthew Phillips like they have been linemates for years and really is a part of the spark plug of this team. It is crazy to think this is just the beginning for him.
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Pelletier has ranked very high in rookie scoring all season. After this game, he is third in rookie points with 44, second in goals with 19, and 6th in assists with 25. Pelletier just makes the list for the league’s top 20 scorers just six below Phillips, who is sitting at 14. 
If and when the Heat make a post-season run, Pelletier and Phillips are going to need to be a large piece in the primary scoring for the team if they are hoping to be successful. Both are names that should be in the back of the mind of the Flames coaching staff especially after seeing the success Adam Ruzicka is having with the Flames as of late. The developmental side of the AHL still works and there is still a wide range of talent to choose from their team down in California. 
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Hitting the road

Wednesday’s game completed the Heat’s three game homestand as they will hit the road on Friday to face the San Jose Barracuda. They will flip things around on Saturday and host the Barracuda back at Stockton arena for their third game against San Jose in a week. With Wolf playing on Wednesday and a back to back coming up on the weekend, expect to see Adam Werner in net for one of those games.
Their weekend series will kick off on Friday night with puck drop scheduled for 8:00 p.m. MT.

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