Zary, Ruzicka Lead Stockton Past Belleville, 4-1
OTTAWA, ON - Two goals and an assist from rookie Connor Zary and a third-straight, three-point outing from forward Adam Ruzicka helped the Stockton Heat (3-2-0-0) earn their third consecutive win, the latest coming 4-1 against the Belleville Senators (1-4-0-0) Wednesday night at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Three of Stockton's goals came from the Zary-Ruzicka-Matthew Phillips line, extending each player's respective scoring streak to three games.
For the second consecutive game, Stockton scored first - with Zary potting a pair in the opening period nearly 10 minutes apart, giving the Heat a 2-0 edge through one. The cushion grew in the second frame as Justin Kirkland got on the board, a power play marker near the midway point to give Stockton a three-goal edge after 40 minutes.
Ruzicka potted his fifth goal in the last three games to start the scoring in the third, finishing a chance on a rebound to cap off the scoring for the visiting team, and Egor Sokolov punctuated the evening with a goal for the home side nine minutes into the final frame.
Netminder Garret Sparks earned his first win with the Heat, stopping 38 of 39 pucks that came his way.
- Zary's goals were his first as a pro, coming in his fifth game with the Heat. His scoring streak is now at three games with two goals and three assists in that span.
- Adam Ruzicka extended his scoring streak to three games with nine points (5g, 4a). His active run is his fourth-career streak of three or more games, with a five-game and two three-game scoring streaks last season. Only one game in his previous streaks was a multi-point effort. It's the first streak of three multi-point games for Stockton since Byron Froese totaled seven points (4g, 3a) on Feb. 8, 9 and 12 of last season.
- Matthew Phillips extended his scoring streak to three games with a pair of assists, giving him six points (1g, 5a) in the last three contests.
- Luke Philp has a point in three of five games this season (2g, 1a), all coming on the power play.
- Justin Kirkland's goal was his first since December 18, 2019 against Iowa.
- The contest was Stockton's first road game in 361 days, last playing at Bakersfield on March 7, 2020.
- Garret Sparks earned his first AHL win in his second opportunity on the year, posting a season-high of 38 saves for the Heat.
STK PP - 1-for-2
STK PK - 3-for-3
First - Connor Zary (2 goals, 1 assist)
Second - Adam Ruzicka (1 goal, 2 assists)
Third - Garret Sparks (38 saves)
W - Garret Sparks (38 saves on 39 shots faced)
L - Filip Gustavsson (26 saves on 30 shots faced)
Stockton continues its seven-game road trip with a pair of contests at Toronto, Friday and Saturday at the Coca-Cola Coliseum. Friday's game starts at 5 p.m. MST, 4 p.m. PST, and is free to watch as the AHL's Facebook Watch Game of the Week.
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