Preview: Heat head into Milwaukee
The Abbotsford Heat open a five-game road trip tonight at the BMO Harris Bradley Center with their third game of the season against the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators).
The Heat begin this twelve day road trip in top spot in the North Division and second spot in the Western Conference with 59 points through 49 games. The Heat have a four-point edge in the divisional race over the Lake Erie Monsters who hold one game in hand. The Toronto Marlies are five points back with four games in hand and the Rochester Americans are six points behind the Heat with six games in hand.
The Heat have won both meetings with the Admirals this season, earning back-to-back victories at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC) on January 19th and 20th. Brett Carson (2-0-2), Krys Kolanos (1-1-2), and Max Reinhart (0-2-2), and Mike Matczak (0-2-2) each recorded a two points in the series to extend the Heat’s winning streak against the Admirals to five games. Abbotsford swept the Admirals in the first round best-of-five series in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs last April.
Barry Brust is coming off his fifth shutout of the season on Sunday, where the Heat needed six rounds of the shootout to defeat of the Lake Erie Monsters 1-0. Brust is two shutouts behind Curtis McElhinney, who leads the AHL with seven shutouts this season for the Springfield Falcons.
Krys Kolanos has been at his best against the Admirals over his AHL career. The Heat’s all-time leading goal scorer has points in each of his last ten games against the Admirals (nine goals, six assists) and 29 points in his career over 25 games played (18 goals, 11 assists). Kolanos has also averaged 4.64 shots per contest against the Admirals.
The Heat are coming off a four game home stand where they earned three wins, including consecutive shootout victories on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon against Lake Erie. The Admirals have split six games since their January visit to Abbotsford and are currently one game over .500, seven points behind the Rochester Americans for the final playoff position in the Western Conference.
Abbotsford will face the Peoria Rivermen and Rockford IceHogs on Friday and Saturday night before returning to Milwaukee on Sunday to close out their season series with the Admirals. Wednesday February 20th against the Chicago Wolves is the final game of the Heat’s 12-day trip through the Midwest.
The Heat return home to face the Charlotte Checkers on February 22nd and 23rd to close out a spell of 14 games over 24 days – their busiest stretch of the season. February 22nd is Country Night at the AESC and features hotdogs for a dollar and beer for two dollars. For more information on the team and to purchase tickets, visit www.AbbotsfordHeat.com or call 1 877 452-HEAT(4328).