Preview: Heat close out road swing with three games in three days
ABBOTSFORD, BC -- After battling tough elements getting from Chicago to Raleigh, the Heat earned three out of a possible four points in two games against the Charlotte Checkers last weekend.
The Heat will close out their five-game road trip against two Midwest division opponents this weekend, playing three games in three days. Abbotsford strolls into the Midwest with a very balanced number of wins at home and on the road. The Heat lead the Western Conference with 32 wins on the season, 16 of them achieved at the AESC, while the other 16 have come on the road. The teams play away from home is significantly better than last year’s team who racked up an 11-20-2-5 record. However, this year’s squad has some work to do if they want to eclipse the franchise road wins record of 24 put up by the 2011-’12 team. With only 12 road games remaining, nine will have to be won to re-write the record book.
The Heat currently sit first place in the Western Conference with a 32-15-4-1 record and 69 points.
HEAT vs. ADMIRALS (AHL AFFILIATE OF THE NASHVILLE PREDATORS)
Friday, February 21st – 6:00 PM MST – BMO Harris Bradley Center
Every single game between the Heat and the Admirals this season has yet to be decided in regulation time. Out of the three previous meetings, the Heat has won twice in overtime, while the Admirals have a win in the shootout. This has not been the first season that the two teams have been so evenly matched. In the past five years, the Heat have won nine outings, while the Admirals have taken ten, with only one game in the past three years being won by a margin greater than two goals.
The Admirals currently hold down the last playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 23-16-6-5 record and 57 points. Out of their last ten games, the Admirals have won only three; however, a majority of those games have been close with five of those ten games requiring overtime or a shootout.
Like the Heat, Milwaukee is led by a rookie in both goals and points. Miikka Salomaki leads the way with 33 points (12-21-33), while fellow rookie Colton Sissons trails Salomaki by just one point (19-13-32), but leads the team in goals.
2013-14 Heat head to head stats vs. Milwaukee Admirals:
10/11/13—ABB 3 MIL 2 @ AESC OT
10/12/13—ABB 1 MIL 2 @ AESC S/O
11/19/13—ABB 4 MIL 3 @ BMO Harris Bradley Center OT
Individual leaders in season series (among active skaters):
ABB: Billins: 3 points in 3 GP (0-3-3), Knight: 3 points in 3 GP (0-3-3), Hanowski: 2 points in 3 GP (1-1-2)
MIL: Beck: 3 points in 3 GP (1-2-3), Salomaki: 3 points in 3 GP (1-2-3), Watson: 3 points in 3 GP (1-2-3), Hellberg: 3 GP (1-2-0-0, 87/95 saves)
HEAT vs. WOLVES (AHL AFFILIATE OF THE ST. LOUIS BLUES)
Saturday, February 22nd – 6:00 PM MST – Allstate Arena
Sunday, February 23rd – 2:00 PM MST – Allstate Arena
The Heat has yet to face-off against the Wolves this season. Chicago is stockpiled with AHL veterans including Keith Aucoin, Alexandre Bolduc, Mark Mancari, and Derek Nesbitt, who have combined to play over 2000 AHL games. The doubleheader this weekend will also be the first time Corey Locke and Mark Cundari go up against their former teams. Locke was traded from the Wolves to the Heat on January 23rd, while in a related move; Cundari was loaned to the Wolves from the Heat. Both players are fitting in well with their new teams as Locke has recorded eight points (0-8-8) in 10 games with Abbotsford, while Cundari has six points (2-4-6) in 10 games with Chicago.
Sitting second in the Midwest Division, the Wolves are currently in a playoff spot with a 29-16-4-2 record and 64 points. They carry one of the top goaltenders in the league in Jake Allen who represented the AHL at the All-Star Classic in St. John’s. He currently is tied for the league lead in wins with 22 and has a 2.19 GAA, which puts him third overall in the AHL. Offensively, the Wolves are led by a rookie in Ty Rattie. He currently leads the team in goals (19) and points (33) in 50 games played.
NEWS & NOTES
The Abbotsford Heat announced on Monday, February 17, 2014, that they have recalled forward Zach McKelvie from the Alaska Aces, the Heat’s developmental ECHL affiliate. McKelvie has played in nine games this season for the Heat recording one point (0-1-1), and nine penalty minutes. With the Aces, he has played in 10 games recording 28 penalty minutes.
The Calgary Flames announced on February 19th, that they have recalled goaltender Joni Ortio and defenceman Derek Smith from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League. In addition, Abbotsford forward Lane MacDermid has been suspended from the club for failing to report following the AHL All-Star break. Ortio has played 28 games with the Abbotsford Heat this season. He is top five in the AHL in all goaltending categories with a 20-6 record (3rd) for a .714% winning percentage along with a .926% save percentage (4th) and a 2.22 GAA (5th). Smith has scored four goals and added six assists for 10 points in his 15 games with the Abbotsford Heat this season. He has also played 14 games with the Calgary Flames collecting one assist.
On Wednesday, February 19th, the Heat announced that they have recalled forward Evan Trupp from the Alaska Aces. Trupp, has played in seven games with the Heat this season recording four points (1-3-4) and eight penalty minutes. In 41 games with the Aces this season, Trupp has recorded 35 points (11-24-35) and 20 penalty minutes.
On Thursday, February 20th, the Heat announced that they have signed goaltender Aaron Dell. A native of Airdrie, Alberta, Dell has played in 22 games with the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL) registering a 14-6-0-2 record with a 2.06 GAA and a .922 save percentage.
Brandon Astle will bring all live Heat action this week on 101.7 CIVL FM and on www.teamradio.ca. The pre-game show begins 15 minutes before puck drop.