STOCKTON HEAT (18-2-2-1) vs. SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (10-13-1-0)
1:00 p.m. PST | Broadcast: AHLTV, Fox Sports 1280, Spreaker
Goals – Adam Ruzicka/Jakob Pelletier (10)
Points – Jakob Pelletier (27)
Goals – Scott Reedy (13)
Points – Scott Reedy (22)
PP – 20-for-93, 21.5% (6th)/PK – 86-for-95, 90.5% (1st)
PP – 24-for-113, 21.2% (7th)/PK – 69-for-101, 68.3% (31st)
1. HEAT INDEX
It’s been a long time since Stockton played, and you could be forgiven if you didn’t remember the hot streak the Heat rode into the holiday break. Fortunately, now’s the time for a refresher. Eight consecutive games with at least a point, four straight wins, and a 36-15 aggregate over the run has the Heat looking to finish off a month-long point streak for the first time in team history. Across the ice is a San Jose squad that the Heat have dispatched twice, finals of 4-1 at the SAP Center and a 10-1 romp at Stockton Arena.
2. THIS, THAT, THE OTHER
THIS… A New Year’s Eve tradition, the Heat hit the ice in a divisional contest. All-time, Stockton is 2-2-1-0 on December 31, most recently competing on December 31, 2019 – a 4-0 blanking of the Barracuda. Glenn Gawdin and Eetu Tuulola each lit the lamp in the divisional spat while the penalty kill did some heavy lifting with a 7-for-7 effort that evening at Stockton Arena. THAT… Last time these two teams got together, Stockton scored a lot – the club setting a team record in the 10-1 victory. It was the first game in a string of hot offense for the Heat heading into the holiday break, with Stockton totaling 29 goals in those six games. Matthew Phillips and Jakob Pelletier have led the charge offensively for Stockton in that span with eight points apiece. THE OTHER… After working his way back from a preseason injury, center Connor Zary appears to be piecing things together and finding his groove on the offensive end. The 2020 first-round pick has points in three of the last four and four of the last six games, and he has totaled seven points (3g, 4a) in the month of December.
3. PLAYERS TO WATCH
Heat – Glenn Gawdin
Gawdin has made a habit of causing problems for the ‘Cuda, and he’s done so this year with five points (3g, 2a) in two games, including a hat trick on December 7.
Barracuda – Everyone Playing
San Jose was hit hard with a COVID-19 outbreak, listing 12 players in the protocol when Wednesday’s game was postponed. It will be interesting to see how the Barracuda patch together the lineup and who is able to thrive in new roles.
4. MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
- Kevin Gravel is one goal shy of 20 in his AHL career.
- Eetu Tuulola is two goals shy of 20 in his AHL career.
- Emilio Pettersen is one appearance shy of his 50th AHL game.
“The one area I’ve felt we’ve had lots of growth in over the last three weeks to a month has been our offensive game. We’re starting to make a few more plays, we’re starting to be more direct with our offense than earlier in the year when we tried to do too much offensively. We’re going to hard areas to score goals. We’re starting to have a lot more shot volume, which I know is important with how Darryl (Sutter) and his group talk about it in Calgary. We’ve started to put more wear and tear on our opponents offensively.” – Mitch Love on the team’s play over the last month