December 5, 2017 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Stockton Heat
HEAT HOST BAKERSFIELD FOR HISPANIC HERITAGE NIGHT
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Get Fired Up as the Heat play their final home game of the month, looking for their fifth straight win this season against the Bakersfield Condors. It will also be the fifth of ten meetings between the two clubs, with the Heat having gone 4-0-0-0 this season against the Condors and are now 14-13-1-0 all-time against Bakersfield.
Tonight the Stockton Heat will celebrate our community's roots with Hispanic Heritage Night, where the first 1,500 fans will receive a Heat scarf. Saturday home games this season at Stockton Arena are Hockey Night in Stockton presented by Budweiser. All adults, 21 and older, can get a Bud & Burger combo for just $15! Also, be sure to come say hi to Estrella TV on the Fan Deck as they'll have their prize wheel for fans to spin and win terrific prizes!
LAST TIME VS. BAKERSFIELD
Hunter Shinkaruk put the difference on the board on the power-play in the second period, and would add his second of the night in the third period to extend the Heat lead to two.
However, Joe Gambardella's shot off a faceoff win pulled the Condors within one to make the end of the game interesting. David Rittich made key saves at the end and Marek Hrivik scored his fourth goal of the season in the empty net for the 4-2 win.
WHO TO WATCH
Emile Poirier, last night's third star, had his best game of the season with 3 assists in the win. Heat Head Coach Ryan Huska was quick to point out Poirier's speed in last night's game and mentioned that offensive chances continued to happen whenever number 21 was on the ice.
This team is tough to beat when they get contributions from all of their lines, and last night, Poirier's line with Marek Hrivik and Morgan Klimchuk showcased the speed that makes it tough to defend against. Emile is no doubt the player to watch tonight for Stockton as he looks to build off his last night's terrific performance. Poirier's three-point night was his first such game since January 7th of last season when the forward scored 2 goals and 1 assist against Milwaukee.
After last night's tally, Morgan Klimchuk has now scored goals in back-to-back games on two separate occasions this season. The forward now has six goals on the season and the Heat have won in all five games in which he has found the back of the net. His six goals rank third on the team, and he continues to contribute all across the ice.
Klimchuk's offensive spark has directly correlated with wins this year for Stockton and the high-quality nature of his play on a given night is normally fairly indicative on the team's overall performance. Although last night's marker was a fortunate bounce for the 22-year-old, Heat Head Coach Ryan Huska praised Klimchuk's game after last night saying how he continues to go to the right areas.
The former first-round pick is on pace to pass last year's season goal and point total of 19 and 43 respectively. Although his contributions might be overshadowed at times by the likes of Mangiapane and Hathaway, Klimchuk's production has guided the Heat to several big victories through the first 14 games.
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS
David Rittich continues to be one of the league's most consistent net minders in the AHL.
His 33 save effort in the 4-2 win adds to his impressive list of victories. The Czech Republic native is now 5-1 in his 6 starts with 2.17 goals-against-average and a .931 save-percentage, ranking fifth in the league in save-percentage and eighth in goals-against-average.
POWER PLAY TRENDING UP
While the Heat only had two chances on the power play last night, they made one of them count, going 1 for 2 and ensuring that the team has scored power-play goals in six of the last seven games dating back to October 27.
The Heat have converted 7 of 30 power-play chances since then, good for a 23.3% conversion rate. Stockton has scored nine of their 12 power-play goals against Bakersfield and San Diego, having gone 25% against both clubs.
The Stockton Heat have been outshot five times this season, and four have those have come on home ice.
However, they have won all five of those games, including last night's 4-2 victory. In the four games against Bakersfield, Stockton has been outshot in all but one matchup, including an overall disadvantage in the shot margin 146 to 109, but the Heat are outscoring the Condors 16-6 where it matters most.
Stockton is still outshooting opponents 441 to 435 this season.
A LOOK AHEAD
The Stockton Heat head on the road for a six-game, Pacific division road trip that extends into the month of December.