Preview: Heat battle Bulldogs
The Abbotsford Heat host the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens) for a pair of divisional games on Tuesday and Wednesday night at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre (AESC).
Tuesday and Wednesday’s games are the final two games of the first half of the 2012-13 Heat season, and the games will feature numerous new faces on both benches. With NHL training camps underway, the Heat and Bulldogs will be without more than a dozen regulars combined.
The Heat enter play holding down the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Bulldogs sit in 15th spot in the conference with a league worst .417 winning percentage, and 30 points through 36 games played.
The Heat hold a record of 11-6-2-1 at the AESC, while the Bulldogs enter the week with a 5-13-0-2 road record. The North Division rivals split a weekend set on November 30th and December 1st, with the Heat winning 5-1 on Friday night and the Bulldogs winning the rematch a day later by a score of 3-0.
Danny Taylor has allowed just four goals in his last four appearances – earning two wins and suffering one loss over the stretch of play. Taylor sits second in the AHL with a 1.82 goals against average, trailing teammate Barry Brust who carries a 1.54 GAA. The Heat have allowed the fewest goals in the AHL this season, allowing a meagre 2.17 goals per contest.
The Heat are halfway through their season-long eight game home stand which began on January 4th and concludes this Sunday January 20th. Through four games on the home stand, Abbotsford has one win and three losses. The Milwaukee Admirals are the final opponent the Heat will host in the month of January, as they visit the AESC for games on Saturday night at 7:00 and Sunday afternoon at 4:00.