ABBOTSFORD, BC -- After the morning skate, Abbotsford Heat forward Carter Bancks raved about his team’s commitment to special teams this season, stating a strong penalty kill and capitalizing on the man advantage would be a key if they wanted to take down the Oklahoma City Barons.
He was right.
Special teams proficiency carried the Heat to a 4-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers AHL affiliate on Friday night at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre. The Heat scored three of their four goals on the power play and stymied the Oilers five opportunities with the man advantage.
Abbotsford has allowed just a single power play goal this year, killing off 44 of 45 infractions in their first 10 games of the season.
"We've had continuity and we've had consistency," head coach Troy Ward said of his team's penalty killing this year. "Those two things have kind of put us in a position to be very successful."
Danny Taylor earned his fourth win of the season and his first shutout of the 2012-13 campaign. The 26 year-old made 23 saves, some in spectacular fashion, in the victory.
"He made timely saves," Ben Street said. "There was momentum swings where we got away from our game a little bit and they started to press. He just swallows up the puck and it goes to a faceoff.
"He was huge for us, in the ebbs and flows of the game. I can't say enough about him."
Dustin Sylvester opened the scoring at 18:50 of the first period, snapping a pass from Street past Barons goaltender Yann Danis. TJ Brodie picked up his first of two points with an assist on the power play marker.
Street gave Abbotsford a two-goal advantage at 8:34 mark of the second frame with his fourth goal of the season. Sven Baertschi and Brodie earned the helpers on the Heat's second goal with the man advantage.
"We've worked on (the power play) in practice and it hasn't been all that good in practice," Street admitted. "But tonight was a good indication of the growth that we're having."
The Heat's third goal was a gift from Barons defenceman Martin Marincin. The blueliner went to make a outlet pass from behind the goal line and ended up banking it off his own player and into the back of the net.
Ben Walter was given credit for the tally which Street characterized as a momentum-killer for the Barons.
"I've been on the other side of that and it deflates you a bit. For us, we didn't want to take our foot off the gas at all but that was certainly a huge help."
Undisciplined play from Oklahoma City in the third period led to the Heat's fourth goal of the evening. With Teigan Zahn and Curtis Hamilton in the box, Kry Kolanos slammed a cross-ice pass from Walter into the back of the net.
The Heat and Barons square off again on Saturday at 8:00 PM MT with the game being broadcast on Sportsnet.
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