The Stockton Heat played the second half of their weekend series against the Abbotsford Canucks on Saturday night and completed the sweep with a 2-1 victory. This game was a little bit of a slow start for the Heat but they proved to be resilient and earned their seventh straight victory in their active winning streak.
It’s not who starts it, it’s who finishes it
The Heat did show some signs of slowing down in this game as they went the whole first period without scoring. It was the Abbotsford Canucks that got on the board first 5:15 into the opening frame. Stockton failed to answer back in the same period and did not seem to find many opportunities or high-quality scoring chances through the first twenty minutes.
Thankfully, that did a full 180 in the second period and woke up the production a bit. Eetu Tuulola scored his first of the year at 7:32 after coming off his first point on the season in Friday’s game. Here’s a look at his beautiful tap-in.
The Heat kept it rolling and less than a minute later, Matthew Phillips scored on the power play in a Johnny Gaudreau snipe-type goal.
These two goals were enough to hold the Heat all the way until the end alongside a great effort by Adam Werner, who was between the pipes tonight. He showed that both Stockton goalies got game and stopped 25/26 shots in this one.
Keeping it 100
This weekend was the game of 100s as Byron Froese hit the 100 AHL goal milestone on Friday night and on Saturday, Matthew Phillips also hit a 100 mark as well. With his goal in the second period, Phillips reached 100 points in his AHL career.
In his five years and 143 games in the league, Phillips has earned 39 goals and 61 assists. This puts him at an average of just about a .70 point per game average. All of these points have gone to the Heat as he has played in his entire AHL career with them.
Views from the top
Win number seven put the Heat in a very interesting position in the AHL. Not only have they tied the Ontario Reign for the top of the Pacific Division, but they have also tied the second spot in the whole league. The only team above them is the Utica Comets, who have gone undefeated in all six of their games. Only four teams in the whole AHL have yet to lose a game in regulation this season and Stockton happens to be one of them.
Only a couple of changes to report ahead of this game. The Heat recalled Ryan Olsen from the Kansas City Mavericks as Martin Pospisil was absent from the lineup due to an upper-body injury. It appears to be day-to-day at this time without any further updates from the team.
Olsen played in two games for the Heat earlier in the season but did not register any points. However, in his four games with the Mavericks, he was averaging a point a game with three goals and an assist. He was also racking up the time in the box with 17 PIMs in that handful of games. He did play in Saturday’s game with the Heat but did not register a shot all game let alone a point.
The road ahead
The Heat are done for the weekend and play an almost identical schedule as last week in this upcoming week. They head to Bakersfield on Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. MT game against the Condors, then host the Henderson Silver Knights at 8:00 p.m. MT on Friday and again on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. MT.