The Stockton Heat are back in action this week after starting the season with two almost perfect weekends of hockey, making us all forget what was a rough last half of their modified season just earlier this calendar year. Through the first four games, the Heat sit at a 3-0-1-0 record. Before the weekend games get started, they hold the second spot in the Pacific Division.
The Last Three
Not only are the Heat on a three-game winning streak, they are also on a four-game point streak. They dropped the first game of the season in overtime against the Tucson Roadrunners and haven’t looked back since. They have not lost a game in regulation, so on the points side of things, they have yet to leave a game empty-handed in the 2021-22 season.
Following their opening night loss, Stockton got their first win of the season with a score of 3-2. The following weekend, the scores were not as close. Last weekend, they secured a win against the San Diego Gulls by a score of 6-2 on Friday night. They kept it rolling in Bakersfield when they beat the Condors 4-2 on Saturday.
Players to Watch
If you don’t know who Dustin Wolf is, you will. Wolf is a WHL standout that has just emerged into his professional career this year. He played his first professional game last year and it was a little shaky. Since then, he has not dropped a game in regulation and has only let in eight goals in five games.
This young goaltender is elite and is working towards setting himself up for a larger role in the Flames organization. For now, he sits at a .951 save percentage, which puts him 12th in the league two weeks into the season. He has started in three out of the four Stockton games and at this pace, will continue to see a lot of time between the pipes.
AHL debut: L
— Stockton Heat (@AHLHeat) October 24, 2021
A Heat trio to also be aware of is the Stockton’s top line of Jakob Pelletier, Adam Ruzicka and Matthew Phillips. They are red hot to start the season, being credited with five of the Heat’s 13 goals so far in 2021-22. The three unsurprisingly lead the team scoring with Pelletier sitting at two goals & three assists, Phillips at two goals & two assists. and Ruzicka with one goal & three assists.
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Other players such as Justin Kirkland, Luke Philp, Byron Froese, and Glenn Gawdin are finding their game and contributing at a good pace, tied at three points each.
Players that Need a Push
A few Heat skaters that could benefit from riding the success of the team are Martin Pospisil, Connor Mackey, and Emilio Pettersen. Pettersen has yet to make it on the scoresheet. and Pospisil & Mackey have an assist each. With new additions to the team, Pettersen has fallen down the depth chart, but the other two are playing pretty close to the same type of minutes they played last season.
Pospisil is coming back from an injury and made quite an impression at Flames Camp. He earned himself three preseason starts and picked up a point during that time. He has not been as noticeable in his play with Stockton so far, but there is still a lot of season to be played.
Mackey was an offensive defenseman in last year’s games in the Canadian Division and earned himself Canadian Division All-Star recognition. He has had his chances and has been at the right place at the right time, but has not had the shots and bounces go his way. He is another Heat player that could take off in the coming weeks to months if he is able to knock off some offseason rust.
No Friday game for the Heat this weekend, but they will be back at it for some home action on Saturday and Sunday evening. They start their weekend series against the Colorado Eagles on Saturday night, who have yet to pick up a win in the 2021-22 season. They’re going to be hungry, but they might also be desperate. The way the Heat are playing, they should win that game. Game time is 6:00 pm PDT.
The following night, Stockton will face the San Jose Barracuda. San Jose sits only two spots below the Heat in the division standings and might make them work for it on their Halloween game. The Barracuda have played three games and sit at a 2-1-0-0 record. They beat the Eagles in their last game by a score of 3-2. That being said, if the Heat had a good week of practice and are rolling the same way they have the last two weekends, they should take two this weekend and extend their winning streak to five games.
We will find out for sure in the coming days. Puck drop will be at 6:00 pm PST on Saturday and 5:00 pm PST on Sunday.