It was a big weekend for Stockton Heat rookie Hunter Smith.
The 6-foot-7 winger collected his first professional assist and goal on Friday and then picked up another point on Saturday in Bakersfield.
His first point in the AHL came in the first period of Stockton's home game against the Bakersfield Condors. After the Condors jumped out to a 4-0 start in the opening period, the Heat furiously pressed for a comeback. Smith helped set up Freddie Hamilton's late-period goal, which cut Stockton's deficit in half after 20:00 of play.
Smith notched the Heat's fifth goal of the evening, utilizing his size in front of Bakersfield goaltender Laurent Brossoit. The puck bounced off his leg and he was able to get a stick on it just in time, pulling the Heat within a goal of the Condors.
On Saturday, he set up Blair Riley's first period goal against the Condors to give himself his first professional point streak.
According to head coach Ryan Huska, this weekend's strong performance is the culmination of hard work at both ends of the rink by Smith.
"I thought he was one of our more noticeable players tonight for us," Huska said following Saturday’s game. "He was physical and responsible and that’s an important thing for a young guy. You want to build confidence offensively, but also gain trust defensively from the coaching staff and he’s been doing that over the last little while."
The Flames selected Smith in the second round (54th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft. He spent his junior career with the Windsor Spitfires and the Oshawa Generals, capping off his time in the OHL by winning the Memorial Cup last spring with Oshawa.