Preview: Heat vs. Rampage
ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat close a four-game home stand with a pair of games against the San Antonio Rampage (AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers) on Tuesday and Wednesday night at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre (AESC).
The Heat enter the mid-week series in top spot in the American Hockey League with 30 points through 20 games played. Abbotsford has a league leading 13 wins, four points ahead and holding a game-in-hand on second place Charlotte in the Western Conference.
Last weekend the Heat split a home set with the Hamilton Bulldogs, winning 5-1 on Friday before losing 3-0 on Saturday. Saturday’s loss was the first of the season on home ice for the Heat, who hold a league best home record of 9-1-1-1. Visitors have scored just 15 goals in 12 games this season at the AESC.
Netminder Barry Brust remains perfect on the season with wins in each of his six appearances. Brust started the only prior match-up with the Rampage this season on November 24th, where he broke Johnny Bower’s 54-year-old record for consecutive shutout time. The 29-year-old Kelowna native made saves on nine of eleven shootout attempts, leading the Heat to a 3-2 shootout win in the first of four meetings this season with San Antonio.
The Heat penalty kill remains the top unit in the AHL, operating at 91% efficiency. At home the club has surrendered just two power play goals in 45 opportunities. The Heat power play has also been strong on home ice, scoring 15 times on 53 opportunities (28.3%) this season and sitting second in the AHL.
The Rampage arrive in Abbotsford for the end of a five-game road trip with one game in Rochester and a pair of games in Cleveland (Lake Erie). The Rampage snapped an eight game winless streak in Rochester and split the two games with the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche).
Following the mid-week series, the Heat will travel east to face the Rochester Americans (AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres) and the Toronto Marlies (AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs). The Heat return to the AESC for their final home games of 2012 on December 14th and 15th against the Texas Stars (AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars). Friday December 14th is the Heat’s annual Teddy Bear Toss, which benefits the Abbotsford Food Bank’s Christmas Bureau.
For more information on the mid-week set and purchase tickets, visit www.AbbotsfordHeat.com or call 1 877 452-HEAT(4328).