Oct. 20, 2017

STOCKTON, Calif. – Spencer Foo scored a goal and added an assist, while goaltender Jon Gillies made 28 saves as the Stockton Heat (3-2-0-0, 6 pts.) earned a 4-2 victory over the San Diego Gulls (2-2-0-0, 4 pts.) tonight at Stockton Arena. In a game that saw special teams dominate the score sheet, Stockton came out on top with three power-play goals and a shorthanded tally.

A pair of power play goals by center Kalle Kossila and two assists from defenseman Andy Welinski were not enough to overcome a sluggish start and complete the comeback for San Diego looked to climb back from an early two-goal deficit.

“It’s not the power play that cost us the game, it was the other little things, some stupid penalties, mine included,” said Kossila said. “Just not being ready to go cost us the game.”

Heat rookie Spencer Foo opened the scoring with his first professional goal on the power play at 5:30 of the first period. Foo jammed a pass through the pads of Gulls goaltender Kevin Boyle to open the scoring for Stockton. Later in the period former Gull and Anaheim Duck Joseph Cramarossa intercepted a pass at center ice and scored a shorthanded goal to double the lead for Stockton at 10:02 of the opening frame.

The shorthanded goal came as part of a sequence late in the first period that saw the Gulls go on four consecutive power plays. However, Stockton goaltender Jon Gillies came up with several key, timely saves to keep San Diego off the scoreboard. Sam Carrick may have had best chance with Gillies down on the ice, but his shot sailed above the crossbar and the Gulls entered intermission down two.

“I have been in that organization a long time and made a lot of friends along the way and that is the business of the game that down the line you are going to have to play them,” said Heat forward and former Gull forward Joseph Cramarossa. “It felt good to score and it was a good game right until the end and I am glad we got the win.”

The second period finally saw the Gulls break through on the power play as Kossila corralled Escondido, native Austin Ortega’s pass at the top of the left circle and he beat Gillies for his first goal of the season at 12:43.

The Heat answered back with a power play marker of their own as Mark Jankowski scored his fifth goal in five games, beating Kevin Boyle at the 18:44 of the second frame. Boyle made the initial save but the puck trickled through his pads and across the goal line to give Stockton the 3-1 advantage heading into the third period.

The third saw a change in net with San Diego debut for goaltender Leland Irving, who was recently acquired from Lehigh Valley in exchange for Dustin Tokarski on Oct. 9. Irving, in relief of Boyle, turned aside all 14 shots that faced in the third period.

Although the Gulls appeared to be on the comeback trail after Kalle Kossila recorded his second power play goal of the night at 1:17 of the period. Welinski added his second assist of the game on Kossila’s second power-play goal, giving him points in a career high four consecutive games (1-4=5), while he also ranks tied for third among AHL defenseman in scoring.

A rash of late penalties taken by San Diego snuffed out any opportunity for a late equalizer, with Morgan Klimchuk sealing the game for Stockton with five seconds remaining in the contest with an empty-net goal, on the power play.

“Obviously there are some nerves, especially when you have been sitting there for 40 minutes, but it’s part of the game, and you have to be ready whenever you are called upon,” said Irving of coming on in relief. “I just wanted to go out there and give the boys a chance to win.”

The Gulls and Stockton face off again tomorrow evening at Stockton Arena (6 p.m.) in a game broadcast on ESPN 1700-AM that will be joined in progress on The Mighty 1090-AM following Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.

Three Stars:
1. M. Jankowski (STK)
2. K. Kossila (SD)
3. S. Foo (STK)