Preview: Heat vs. Rivermen - 13.10.12
ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat are coming off a 4-1 victory heading into their second game in a back-to-back series with the Peoria Rivermen tonight at the Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre.
Abbotsford netminder Danny Taylor stopped 24 shots and was named the game's first star.
"I thought Danny picked up where he left off last spring," head coach Troy Ward said of the goaltender's play. "I think he's been that all (through) camp and that's why he got the start.
"It's kind of a 'Danny Taylor' performance we've seen in the past."
SEASON SERIES: 1-0-0 with the next game coming on Dec. 31 in Peoria.
ALTERNATING GOALIES: With three capable goalies on the roster, Ward is going to use the first couple of weeks of the season to find out which player will take over the starting role in Abbotsford.
"The one thing you can rest assured is that if we felt that we had one or two that are playing extremely well, that's the rotation we'll go.
"To get out of the gates here, we'll look to see who is the guy who is heading it off and we'll probably lean on him. That's more of my style than to say we're going to rotate three goalies."
Taylor's strong performance on Friday was a statement and the two other netminders will have to give everything they've got to solidify themselves as the team's starter.
RAVING ABOUT THE ROOKIES: Baertschi and Max Reinhart have Heat and Flames fans buzzing this season and their play on Friday is only going to ramp up the hype.
Baertschi picked up two points (one goal, one assist) and his play in the last two periods was extremely strong. The Rivermen's defensive corps couldn't keep him in check and his confidence seemed to grow after every shift he took.
Reinhart helped set up the opening goal and was a plus-two on the night.
"Both of them obviously have great, great careers ahead of them in their first year in Abbotsford," Ward said. "We'll hold them accountable to the standards that we believe in the organization they should live at.
"We'll give them guidance and a lot of reassurance that they are capable and give them the confidence that they need to progress through the year ... it's one day at a time. Not too high, not too low, just try and stay steady."
VETERAN RULE: With six veterans on the roster, Ward is forced to sit one of them due to the veteran rule (only five allowed to dress) in the AHL. Krys Kolanos, the Heat's leading scorer was a healthy scratch due to the rule last night but the coaching staff may opt to sit another veteran tonight to get some fresh legs going up front.
"It looks like we could talk about that question for weeks to come, because somebody's got to sit," Ward said. "Obviously it's not an easy situation. It's my job to look at the big group, look at who we're playing, and put out the lineup that I think gives us the best chance to win. On this particular night, he didn't play. That's about all I can say."
LAST NIGHT'S LINES: While there is no guarantee Ward and the coaching staff will run these lines tonight, there is a good chance some will stay together after such a strong outing on Friday.
Baertschi - Street - Sylvester
Bouma - Walter - Aliu
Horak - Reinhart - Laing
Ruegsegger - Olson - Estoclet
GAME TIME: 8:00 PM MT - LISTEN LIVE