Heat pick up a 4-1 win over Peoria in season opener
ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat opened the AHL season tonight with a 4-1 victory over the Peoria Rivermen at the Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre.
Sven Baertschi and Ben Walter each had a goal and an assist, while Dustin Sylvester added two helpers in the 4-1 win. Danny Taylor stopped 24 of 25 shots faced, earning the win and first star honours.
Walter opened the scoring for the Heat at 10:47 of the first period. Steve McCarthy and Max Reinhart drew assists when a rolling puck was held in at the point by McCarthy and centered by Reinhart into the slot. Despite being outshot 14-4 and short-handed three times in the first period, the Heat led 1-0.
Roman Horak put the Heat ahead 2-0 at 1:14 of the second period when he shoveled a loose puck past goaltender Jake Allen. Chris Breen and Quintin Laing assisted Horak’s even strength goal.
Coquitlam product Ben Street added to the Heat lead at 14:04 of the second period with the Heat’s first power play goal of the season. Street converted a shot from the left circle, set up by Dustin Sylvester and Baertschi to put Abbotsford up 3-0.
Baertschi's first AHL goal came just two minutes and 12 seconds after his first AHL point, when he was spotted behind the defense on a turnover and scored on a deke to the forehand. Walter and Sylvester drew assists on the play, giving the Heat a 4-0 lead after two periods of play.
The Rivermen spoiled Danny Taylor's shutout bid at 9:02 of the third period when Anthony Peluso beat him with a low wrist shot from the right wing.
The Heat scored once on five opportunities on the power-play, and killed all three Peoria power plays, including a five-on-three advantage in the first period.
First star Danny Taylor continued his stellar form from 2012, stopping 14 shots on goal in the first period alone. At the post-game press conference, Head Coach Troy G. Ward spoke about Taylor’s performance, “Danny picked up where he left off last spring, which is how he was all camp, and that’s why he got the start.” The Heat were outshot 25-16 in the win, but for the second consecutive season, have won their home opener.