Heat down Checkers on Saturday
RALEIGH, NC -- The Abbotsford Heat beat the Charlotte Checkers (AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes) 5-1 on Saturday night at PNC Arena. The Heat remain in first place in the Western Conference with a 32-15-3-1 record and 68 points.
The scoring was spread out for the Heat, getting goals from five different skaters and received solid goaltending from Joni Ortio en route to the team’s third straight win over the Charlotte Checkers.
The Heat got off to a great start to the game as Markus Granlund scored his team leading 22nd goal of the season at the 1:32 mark, assisted by Shane O’Brien. Ortio was sharp stopping all 10 shots he faced and allowed the Heat to take a 1-0 lead into the second period.
Blair Jones made it a 2-0 game just 14 seconds in to the second period, as he scored his 12th goal of the season, assisted by Derek Smith. The Checkers replied with a power play goal from Victor Rask at the 6:34 mark to cut the Heat’s lead to one goal. However, Sven Baertschi restored the two goal lead scoring his 4th goal of the season unassisted at 10:03.
In the third period, Ben Street scored a power play goal to make it a 4-1 game at 8:02, assisted by Corey Locke and Jones. Ben Hanowski put the game away with another power play goal at 18:58, assisted by Chad Billins.
The Heat were two out of four on the power play and killed off two of three penalties in the game.
Ortio picked up his league leading 20th win of the season stopping 29 of 30 shots, while John Muse was charged the loss turning away 28 of 33 shots.
The Heat and Checkers will finish off a doubleheader tomorrow at 1:00 PM PST. The Heat’s road-trip continues in Milwaukee on Friday, February 21st, and then finishes with a doubleheader on Saturday February 22nd and Sunday February 23rd against the Chicago Wolves. The Heat will be back in action on home ice February 29th and March 1st, against the Calder Cup defending champion Grand Rapids Griffins.