Derek Grant may have missed over a month of action with a broken jaw but he had no rink rust when he hit the ice this week with the Stockton Heat.
The forward scored three goals and posted five points in a pair of games, helping push Stockton to back-to-back wins. He now has 26 goals and 43 points in 32 games in the American Hockey League this season.
Grant made his return to the lineup on Friday when the Heat picked up a decisive 5-1 win over the Iowa Wild at the Stockton Arena. He scored two goals, put eight shots on net, and was named the game's first star in the victory.
"It felt good to be back," he told StocktonHeat.com. "It can be frustrating sometimes when you’re not playing and obviously you always want to be out there with the guys. I’m just excited to be back."
Heat head coach Ryan Huska was very pleased with Grant's ability to step back into the lineup without missing a beat.
"[Derek Grant] was excellent tonight. When you look at our power play when he’s out there, he does a great job down low in front of the net. You can tell why we missed him during that lengthy period of time that he was out. He steps right back in tonight with two nice goals after missing that much time – it’s good to have him back."
On Saturday, the Heat were back in action in Bakersfield and Grant posted three points in the come-from-behind 6-5overtime win over the Condors.
He got the Heat on the board in the second period, taking a cross-ice pass from Hunter Shinkaruk and tossing it back-door. Grant earned an assist on Kenney Morrison's third period tally and set up Shinkaruk's goal just under five minutes later.
He ended up with six shots on net in the win, leading all skaters on Saturday night.