Preview: Heat open four-game homestand with two games against Rochester
ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat open a four-game home stand with games against the Rochester Americans (AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche) on Tuesday morning and Wednesday night at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre (AESC).
The Heat and Americans find themselves in a four-team battle for top spot in the AHL’s North Division. Abbotsford currently leads the division with 53 points in 45 games, with the Toronto Marlies (42 games played) and Lake Erie Monsters (45 games played) just a point behind. The Americans arrive in Abbotsford just two points behind the Heat and hold three games in hand.
Danny Taylor has been in top form for the Heat in 2013. The 26-year-old Ottawa native has started seven of the team’s last nine games and has posted a 1.38 GAA and a .944 SAV% in 2013, amassing a record of six wins and three loses over that span. This season Taylor has a team leading twelve wins, and has partnered with Barry Brust to allow just 2.11 goal against per game this season to lead the American Hockey League. Taylor and Brust are the top two goalies in the AHL by goals-against-average and both rank in the top three in save percentage.
The Heat are three games into their busiest of stretch of the 2012-13 season with 14 games over 24 days (from January 31st to February 23rd) that will include a pair of ’three-in-three’ sets and eight road games. The Heat have played well at the AESC this season winning 15 of 24 home games (15-6-2-1), while the Americans have a .500 record in 16 games on the road.
Abbotsford split a weekend series with the Americans on January 4th and 5th at the AESC. The series featured a 5-2 Heat loss despite outshooting Rochester 50-30 before beating the Americans 3-1 in the rematch. The Heat have earned five of a possible eight points (2-1-0-1) in the season series with the Americans with four games remaining.
Following two mid-week games against Rochester, the Heat will host Lake Erie on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon before departing for a 12-day trip through the Midwest. The Heat will play two games in Milwaukee, and a single game in each of Peoria, Rockford and Chicago.