Preview: Heat vs. Barons
ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Heat will play a sold-out two-game set against the Oklahoma City Barons (AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers) on Friday and Saturday night at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC). The Barons and Heat were divisional rivals last season, renewing their rivalry this year with a combined 11 NHL first round draft picks on their rosters.
Through the first four weeks of the AHL season the Heat have the top winning percentage in the Western Conference with a record of (6-1-0-2). The Barons sit three points behind the Heat with a record of have a mark of (5-4-0-1) and have played one more game.
Roman Horak’s hot start to the season has the 21-year-old Czech product leading the AHL with 10 goals in nine games. Horak recorded a natural hat-trick in the Heat’s last game, a 4-2 win over the Toronto Marlies on November 2nd. Horak (10-1-11) is tied for the team scoring lead with Sven Baertschi (4-7-11) with 11 points this season, one ahead of Ben Walter (2-8-10).
Prized free agent signing Justin Schultz has led the Barons offensively with 15 points (6-9-15) in 10 games played. Schultz was born in Kelowna, BC, and was named an ‘AHL Player of the Week’ in October. Drafted in the second round of the 2008 Draft by the Anaheim Ducks, Schultz opted to sign with the Edmonton Oilers in 2012 after three seasons at the University of Wisconsin.
The Heat penalty kill enters this weekend with the top ranking in the AHL. The Heat have killed off 39 of 40 man-advantages (97.5%) and have scored three short-handed goals. The Heat power play is also tied for top spot in the AHL on home ice converting 32% of its power play opportunities. The Barons have the 29th ranked penalty kill and ninth ranked power play in the league.
The teams will meet again on April 19th and 20th of April in Oklahoma City to close the 2012-13 AHL regular season.