Stockton, Cal. – The first month of the season has been very up and down for the Stockton Heat. Through nine games this season, Head Coach Cail MacLean and his team have a 4-4-1-0 record, good for 4th in the Pacific Division. We’ll go through the good, the bad, and the ugly to start the season:
Stockton’s offense has been clicking to start off the season. The duo of Andrew Mangiapane and Tyler Graovac have been on fire, with a combined 21 points in October. Offseason trade acquisition, Kerby Rychel, has fit in nicely with five goals. Curtis Lazar has also made an impact with six points, including two powerplay goals. Coming into the season it was clear the Heat wanted to be a fast, aggressive team, and they have showed that in the early stages of the season.
Another positive is Stockton’s play on the road. Their record away from Stockton Arena is 3-2-0-0, but if it weren’t for a three game road winning streak, MacLean’s Heat could have been in a much bigger hole. With eight road games in November, they could climb the standings if they keep this trend going.
Most fans of Stockton and Calgary are sick of hearing this, but goaltending is once again a problem. Coming into November, starting goaltender Jon Gillies has a 3-2-1-0 record with a 5.08 GAA and a .846 SV%. October 27th’s showing saw Gillies give up eight goals on 24 shots in the first two periods, having Ryan Faragher replace him in the 3rd.
Gillies isn’t the only goalie to have struggled in the early season. Fellow Flames prospect Tyler Parsons had a shaky start, with a 1-2-0 record and a .831 SV%. In an attempt to help resolve these struggles, Stockton signed Faragher to an AHL deal. He will look to continue off his success last year with Stockton, when he went 4-1-0 with a .949 SV%.
Discipline has been a big problem for the Heat in October, as they can’t seem to stay out of the box, which often puts the goaltenders in a very tough situation. These are the minor penalty totals in the October games:
Oct. 5 @ Bakersfield: 6 minors
Oct. 6 vs. Ontario: 5 minors
Oct. 12 @ Ontario: 4 minors
Oct. 13 vs. San Jose: 6 minors
Oct. 20 vs. San Jose: 6 minors
Oct. 21 @ San Jose: 3 minors
Oct. 26 @ San Diego: 8 minors
Oct. 27 @ Bakersfield: 7 minors
Oct. 31 vs. Bakersfield: 6 minors
While the goalies sure have had their struggles, being on the penalty kill 5+ times a game is certainly not going to give them any help. This is an issue that needs to be corrected as soon as possible or Stockton could find themselves in a very bad situation.
The Heat are back in action Nov. 3rd on “Stick It To Cancer Night” at Stockton Arena against the San Antonio Rampage.