5 Things - Heat vs. San Diego
STOCKTON HEAT (11-2-2-0) vs SAN DIEGO GULLS (8-6-1-0)
7:00 p.m. PST | Broadcast: AHLTV, Fox Sports 1280, Spreaker
Goals - Adam Ruzicka (10)
Points - Jakob Pelletier (17)
Goals - Jacob Perreault (7)
Points - Jacob Perreault (15)
PP - 13-for-60, 21.7% (7th)/PK - 53-for-61, 86.9% (t-3rd)
PP - 14-for-55, 25.5% (2nd)/PK - 49-for-61, 80.3% (t-18th)
1. HEAT INDEX
Another chance to bounce back. Four times this year the Heat have lost. Three times, they've responded with a win. Tonight they'll go for No. 4. The Heat welcome one of the AHL's hottest teams in the San Diego Gulls to Stockton Arena for the first of two on the weekend, a Friday-Saturday twin bill of divisional play. The Heat won the lone prior meeting this season with San Diego, headlined by multi-point nights from Jakob Pelletier (1g, 2a), Walker Duehr (1g, 1a), Matthew Phillips (1g, 1a) and Adam Ruzicka (1g, 1a) in a 6-2 win at Pechanga Arena.
2. THIS, THAT, THE OTHER
THIS... With Juuso Valimaki's assignment Thursday, look for the defenseman to factor heavily on the ice tonight. Valimaki last skated with Stockton during his rookie season after joining the club following an injury, and he proved to be a potent 200-foot player at the AHL level. Valimaki notched 14 points, four goals, in 20 games with the Heat in 2018-19 and finished a plus-9 with 18 penalty minutes. THAT... The Heat will look to hold serve on home ice against San Diego for the first time this season, Stockton winning the season opener between the two teams at Pechanga Arena in October. Stockton Arena has been a house of horrors for the Gulls historically, with the Heat going 16-7-0-1 all-time against San Diego on home ice. On the road this season, the Gulls are 4-4-0-0. THE OTHER... Both teams come into the game rested, having not played since Saturday. The Heat had a scheduled game Wednesday postponed due to COVID protocols affecting the Bakersfield Condors, while San Diego rides a five-game win streak into Stockton following a weekend sweep of San Jose on November 26 and 27.
3. PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat - Juuso Valimaki
Valimaki had two goals in four games against the Gulls in 2018-19 to go with four penalty minutes and a plus-2 rating against San Diego. The defenseman will look to make an instant impact with the Heat similar to his last assignment to the AHL.
Gulls - Brayden Tracey
The Calgary native rides a three-game scoring streak into Friday's tilt with three goals and four assists in that span. In the teams' first contest this season, Tracey was held scoreless and was a minus-1.
4. MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Kevin Gravel is one goal shy of 20 in his AHL career.
Martin Pospisil will skate in his 50th AHL game.
"The penalty-kill strategy and mindset, just do what you can for your team, go out there and execute. It's game-by-game. You can't think about what you've done or haven't done, it's just all about the next game." - Colton Poolman on his mindset and play thus far this season
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