Preview: Heat host Rochester Americans
ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat open 2013 with an eight-game home stand, beginning this weekend with a pair of games against the Rochester Americans (AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres) on Friday and Saturday night.
The Heat are set to play their first home games since a 2-1 shootout win over the Texas Stars on December 15th, and hold a record of 10-3-2-1 in 16 games played at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre (AESC) this season. The Heat just concluded a six-game road swing through the Midwest from which the team earned three of a possible 12 points with a 3-2 win in Chicago on December 29th and a 2-1 shootout loss in Peoria on New Year’s Eve.
Krys Kolanos is in top form heading into this weekend’s set. The 31-year-old Calgarian has four goals and two assists in his last four games and now sits second in team goal scoring with nine goals in twenty games. Kolanos led the Heat in scoring last season with 61 points (30-31-61) in just 47 games played, and has seen a rise in production from linemate Paul Byron since Christmas. Byron, a second year member of the Heat, has two goals in regulation and another in a shootout over his last three games.
The Americans have won three of their last four games, and arrive on the heels of a 2-0 shutout victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs. The Heat have earned three of a possible four points in two prior meetings with the Americans this season. Rochester club sits four points behind the Heat for second spot in the North Division, with one game in hand.
Cody Hodgson has just returned to the Americans’ line-up after missing 14 games with a broken bone in his right hand suffered on November 2nd. Hodgson has recorded 18 points in 16 games this season. Teammate T.J. Brennan was announced Monday as the AHL Player of the Week, after recording one goal and five assists in three games. Brennan is second among AHL defensemen in points and leads Rochester with 29 points (12-17-29) in 30 games this season.