Heat Report: 24.02.14
The Heat fell twice in their three-games-in-three-nights stint
It was a compacted week for the Heat as they played three games in three nights against the Milwaukee Admirals and Chicago Wolves.
It could also be described as a nightmare of a road trip that started off with a 20 hour bus ride through harsh blizzard conditions across the eastern seaboard. The road trip was soon followed by a couple of key injuries to Ben Street and Corey Locke along with a few call-ups. Despite all the excuses that could have been made, the Heat showed their trademark competitiveness throughout.
Friday evening saw the Abbotsford Heat claim a 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals thanks to an outstanding goaltending performance from Olivier Roy.
Abbotsford got on the board early as Street fed the puck to Sven Baertschi for his fifth goal of the year. Milwaukee quickly responded, however, as Vinny Saponari scored 3:40 into the opening period to tie it at 1-1. In the second period, Taylor Beck scored at the 3:26 mark to the Admirals the lead.
Midway through the middle frame, Brett Olson fed Street on the power play for his twenty-first of the season. The Heat went 1/4 on the man advantage. With the game knotted at two apiece, Max Reinhart put the Heat ahead at 12:03 of the third period. It proved to be the game winner as Olson picked up the insurance empty netter to seal the win.
Roy stood on his head as he allowed just two goals on 36 shots and took home first star honours.
On Saturday evening, the Heat headed to Illinois to take on the St. Louis Blues affiliate Chicago Wolves. Unfortunately, Abbotsford found themselves in a hole early and despite a big push back, they fell 5-3 to the Wolves.
Former Heat forward Adam Cracknell scored on the first shift of the game to give Chicago the early lead. Alexandre Bolduc added to the lead at the 14:33 mark. Nearing the end of the opening frame, Chad Billins ended a personal 13-game goalless drought to cut the lead to 2-1.
In the second period, defenceman Evan Oberg and Shane Harper made it 4-1 as Heat head coach Troy G. Ward replaced Roy with 24-year-old Aaron Dell. It was Dell's first appearance in an AHL game as he shut out the Wolves on all seven shots he faced.
In the third period, the Heat scratched and clawed their way back into the game beginning with Olson's ninth of the season just 0:51 seconds into the period. On the power play, Corban Knight brought the score to 4-3 with the helpers going to Evan Trupp and Markus Granlund. Still, Abbotsford fell just short of the comeback as Ty Rattie iced the score with a late empty netter.
Less than 24 hours later, the Heat and Wolves renewed hostilities on Sunday afternoon. However, the Heat were set back in a 2-0 shutout loss.
Midway through the first frame, Oberg scored his second goal in as many games to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead. The second period saw an energetic push from the boys in red, but goalie Jake Allen stood tall and stopped all eight shots he faced in the period. In the final frame, Ty Rattie, former teammate of Baertschi and Tyler Wotherspoon, made it 2-0 on the power play to end the game.
Dell stopped 19 of the 21 shots he faced in the loss.
The Heat will return to Abbotsford where they will regroup and prepare to face the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday and Saturday evening at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre.
THREE STARS OF THE WEEK
First Star - Brett Olson: As one of the Heat's go-to utility players, Olson showed his suburb versatility this week by filling the shoes of the injured Ben Street and Corey Locke. The sophomore pro picked up two goals and two helpers in three games. He now has 33 points in 54 games on the season.
Second Star - Aaron Dell: With Joni Ortio being called up to Calgary and Joey MacDonald out with a nagging injury. The Heat called upon 24-year-old Airdrie native Aaron Dell to back up Olivier Roy. As the starter with the ECHL's Utah Grizzlies, Dell earned himself a shot with the Abbotsford Heat and was thrown to Wolves immediately. In 86 minutes of play in a Heat uniform, Dell allowed just two goals this week and posted a 1.39 goals against average and a 0.929 save percentage.
Third Star - Markus Granlund: It was an unusually quiet week for the Heat's leading scorer. Still, Granlund was able to leave his mark on the scoresheet as he added two assists to his stat line. Away from the puck, Granlund continues to improve as he has been regularly utilized on the penalty kill and has shown a tendency to be dangerous shorthanded.