Preview: Heat kick off longest road trip of the year in Hamilton

Tuesday, 05.03.2013 / 8:41 AM xx

The Abbotsford Heat kick off their longest road trip of the 2012-13 season against the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens) on Tuesday night from Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.

The Heat are two points behind the North Division leading Toronto Marlies and currently sit in sixth spot in the Western Conference with 62 points in 58 games played. The Bulldogs are recovering from a slow start to the season and are the hottest team in the North Division with seven wins in their last ten games. The Bulldogs have 50 points in 55 games and are 11 points back of the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Heat and Bulldogs have already met five times this season, with the Heat winning three of the five games. The Heat suffered their first regulation loss of the season in their only prior visit to Hamilton this year, a 2-1 defeat on October 26th.

Roman Horak posted three assists in last weekend’s split with the Houtson Aeros. The second-year pro leads the Heat with 14 goals and sits fourth in team scoring behind Ben Street, Ben Walter and Krys Kolanos. Horak has played six games with the Calgary Flames this season recording a goal and an assist with the NHL club.

Leland Irving has been named a star in each of his last two starts and has been solid in the Heat net since his assignment from the Calgary Flames. The 23-year-old goalie has 93 AHL wins in his career and has allowed just six goals on 91 shots in his three starts since returning the Heat.

The season’s longest road trip will see the Heat play seven games over 15 days in six cities. This weekend the Heat play a three-in-three with a Saturday afternoon game in Toronto sandwiched between games in Rochester, NY on Friday and Sunday. Next week the Heat will head South for three games in Texas against the Texas Stars, the Houston Aeros and the San Antonio Rampage.

The Heat will return to Abbotsford for a pair of home games with the Rockford Icehogs on March 22nd and 23rd.

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