STOCKTON, CA. – Stockton goaltender Dustin Wolf stopped all 23 shots he faced, while forward Justin Kirkland notched two goals and an assist, as the Heat defeated the Colorado Eagles, 5-0 in Game One of the Pacific Division Final on Monday. Defenseman Andy Welinski and forward Matthew Phillips also earned multi-point performance in the win, with each generating a goal and an assist.
The first period saw Colorado shutdown a pair of Heat power plays, as Stockton outshot the Eagles, 11-4 in the opening 20 minutes of play. Despite the lopsided advantage in chances, the two teams would head to the first intermission with the game still scoreless, thanks in large part to several stellar saves from Colorado goaltender Justus Annunen.
The Heat would open the scoring early in the second period when Kirkland flipped a backhander from the bottom of the right-wing circle that would rattle between the leg pads of Annunen and into the back of the net. The goal was Kirkland’s second of the postseason and gave Stockton a 1-0 edge at the 4:09 mark of the period.
A power play less than three minutes later would extend the Heat’s lead, as Welinski lit the lamp with a shot from the point to put Stockton on top, 2-0 with 13:02 left to play in the middle frame.
Still not finished, the Heat would make the most of an odd-man rush when Emilio Pettersen zipped a pass across the top of the crease, allowing forward Eetu Tuulola to lift the puck past Annunen and extend Stockton’s advantage to 3-0 at the 14:34 mark of the second stanza.
Still trailing 3-0 as the puck dropped on the third period, the Eagles would see the hole grow deeper when Kirkland fired a shot from the bottom of the left-wing circle that would deflect off an Eagles skater and into the back of the net to give the Heat a 4-0 lead at the 3:16 mark.
Stockton would add one final tally to the scoreboard when Phillips camped on top of the crease and tipped a shot past Annunen to stretch the advantage to 5-0 with 7:20 remaining in the contest.
Colorado was outshot in the game 30-23, as the Eagles finished 0-for-2 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill. Annunen suffered his first loss of the postseason in net, allowing five goals on 30 shots.
The Eagles will be back in action when they continue their best-of-five Pacific Division Final series against Stockton with Game Two on Tuesday, May 24th at 7:30pm MT. Playoff ticket packages are on sale now and can be purchased at ColoradoEagles.com or by calling the ticket department at (970) 686-7468.