Heat Report: 12.11.10
“Give him credit, he’s played with every player in our dressing room, at every different position and he’s never said a word about it,” said Jim Playfair. “He blocks shots, he kills penalties and he scored a big goal (Monday) night.”
With three goals, seven helpers and a plus-5 rating through the first 16 games of the season the 21-year-old is tied for the team-lead in points with fellow rookies Greg Nemisz and Gaelan Patterson.
“It’s given me a lot of confidence,” admitted Bancks. “Obviously I’m getting an opportunity to play in all situations and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m just trying to help the team in those situations.”
Bancks’ attitude has given Playfair the freedom to move the Marysville, B.C. native around the line-up as he sees fit.
“He’s with our number one line right now and he’s affective,” Playfair said. “He’s been a number two, number three, number four centre and played left wing and right wing.
“He’s a coach’s dream because he’s a zero maintenance player. He just goes out and competes.”
Piskula earns ‘A’
With Matt Pelech sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury, Playfair elected to re-assign the ‘A’ to blue liner Joe Piskula.
“I think when you look around the room, Joe’s ability to try to help the young defencemen come together as a group is, I think, really important,” said Playfair of the decision. “He’s a well respected player in the dressing room. I think he’s a good choice.”
The 26-year-old from Antigo, Michigan, has appeared in all 16 games for the Heat thus far spending time paired with Keith Seabrook.
Heat Welcome Laing
The Abbotsford Heat announced on Wednesday that they have signed forward Quintin Laing to a professional try-out.
Laing was a fourth-round selection of the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and spent time last season with both the Washington Capitals and Hershey Bears.
The 31-year-old started this season in Victoria with the ECHL where he had one assist in four games.
Week in Review
Abbotsford closed out their eight-game home stand over the course of the last week stringing together a 3-1-0-0 record. This included their first sweep of a team this season, the Houston Aeros, on Monday and Tuesday night.
“I think we’ve talked a long time about trying to get a home ice identity established around here so it’s a hard place to play,” said Playfair. “I think to do that you have to win at home.”
The Flames farm club split a pair of games last Friday and Saturday with the San Antonio Rampage. The Phoenix Coyotes top farm club took the Friday night game by a 5-1 decision with Lance Bouma recording the lone goal for the Heat in the loss.
On Saturday night it was all Abbotsford as the Heat beat the Rampage 4-1. Cam Cunning, Keith Seabrook, Giffen Nyren and Greg Nemisz all scored for Abbotsford while Leland Irving picked up the win in his first start since coming off a knee injury.
Earlier this week the Heat picked up a pair of come-from-behind wins in the shootout. In two consecutive nights, the Heat won by a score of 3-2.
On Monday night, after going down 2-0 to the Minnesota Wild affiliate, Nemisz and Bancks scored to force overtime. Gaelan Patterson picked up the shootout winner.
The following night, after once again going down 2-0 to the Aeros, Logan MacMillan and Chris Breen found the back of the net to keep the Heat alive. Rookie Bryan Cameron picked up the shootout winner.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Bancks of sweeping Houston. “We relied on our character and managed to get the job done. It’s great to have two wins (in a row) at home.
“(Monday) night it took right until the final minute to get it, but we’re not going to quit. We’re a young team, we have a lot of energy and we’re going to battle right ‘till the last second.”
“I noticed (Matt Hackett) was backing in quite a bit so I came in, I was thinking deke, and he backed in like I thought. I just kind of blacked out and shot it.”
Patterson on his shootout winner Monday night against Houston.
Kris Chucko – Concussion
Matt Pelech – Shoulder
Ryley Grantham – Ankle
John Negrin – Knee
The Heat now head out on the road for a five-game, 10-day trip, riding a three-game winning streak.
“I think when you look at it, when you have a young team you have to find ways to win in different situations. We go on the road now, we’ve got five games in ten days, all in very tough buildings,” said Playfair of the trip. “We’re trying to make sure we’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves.”
The trip gets started Friday night in Providence against the Boston Bruins affiliate.
On Saturday night, the Heat are in Adirondack to face the Philadelphia Flyers top farm club before returning for a second game in Providence on Sunday.
The road trip concludes with a pair against the Peoria Rivermen next Friday and Saturday night.
Author: Dhiren Mahiban