Preview: Heat close out season in Oklahoma
The Abbotsford Heat play their final two regular season games this weekend in Oklahoma City against the Barons (AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers). The Heat have won three straight games but have been mathematically eliminated from the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs. The Barons have four games over the final six days of the season and are fighting to qualify for the postseason.
The Heat are coming off a two-game sweep of the Toronto Marlies in which they allowed just a single goal against, while scoring six on the Marlies. Abbotsford was also superb on special teams on the weekend finishing 12/12 on the penalty kill while scoring twice on seven power plays. The Abbotsford power play has scored a goal in each of the last six games.
Krys Kolanos enters the final two games of the season leading the Heat with 17 goals and is currently riding a six-game point streak. Kolanos is the Heat’s all-time franchise leader in goals scored, with 47 over two seasons.
Ben Walter was named Team MVP and Fan Favorite Award winner at the annual awards presentation on Sunday afternoon, leading the team in scoring with 47 points this season. Walter has points in each of his last seven games and needs just three points to reach the 50-point plateau for the seventh consecutive season.
The Heat will be without the services of Goaltender Danny Taylor this weekend, who joined the growing list of injured Heat players in Sunday evening’s 3-1 win over Toronto. Taylor joins Chris Breen and Lance Bouma as players that have been shut down for the remainder of the season. Barry Brust will be joined by Leland Irving in Oklahoma City, after relieving Taylor and earned his 13th win of the season on Sunday.
Turner Elson is set to make his season debut for the Heat. Just two days after his season ended with the Red Deer Rebels (WHL), Elson was assigned to the Abbotsford Heat, where he played his first professional game last Spring. Elson finished second in scoring for the Rebels (26-31-57) and led the club with a +26 this season. The B.C. born and Alberta raised forward added nine points in as many playoff games in his final season of junior hockey.