Tag Archives: Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre

Joni Ortio, recently named to the 2013-14 AHL All-Rookie Team, backstops the Abbotsford Heat as the rev up for post-season play. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Heat host Barons, prepare for playoffs

The Abbotsford Heat hold their final homestand of the regular season this weekend, with games against the Oklahoma City Barons on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.

Joni Ortio, recently named to the 2013-14 AHL All-Rookie Team, backstops the Abbotsford Heat as the rev up for post-season play. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Joni Ortio, recently named to the 2013-14 AHL All-Rookie Team, backstops the Abbotsford Heat as the rev up for post-season play. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

The Heat are riding high at the moment, having clinched a playoff berth after sitting out last year’s post-season. They are also celebrating goaltender Joni Ortio’s nomination to the AHL All-Rookie Team for 2013-14; Ortio has been a revelation in the Heat crease, netting 24 wins and two shutouts in just 34 games played. As well, left winger Sven Baertschi has knotted seven points in two games against the Rockford Ice Hogs last week, earning AHL Player of the Week honours.

The Barons have just four wins in their past ten games, and have lost four of the last five meetings with Abbotsford. This weekend marks a return for former Heat forward Roman Horak, who is the Barons leading scorer this season.

With five games left, the Heat sit in fifth place in the Western Conference, and are almost guaranteed to open the post-season against the St Louis Blues affiliate Chicago Wolves.

For those interested in ye olde arena foode, Friday night’s game features 3-2-1 pricing on beer, hot dogs and soda; if prizes are your thing, Sunday’s home finale offers fan appreciation giveaways, including jerseys and a freaking car.

Get tickets here.

Heat explode for six goals on Big M night

The Abbotsford Heat beat the Hamilton Bulldogs by a couple of field goals on Friday night, taking the first of back-to-back weekend games 6–0 in front of an appreciative crowd at the AESC. Blair Jones scored twice in his first game back from injury, while Corban Knight got off the schneid with a two-goal, three-point performance of his own after collecting just two assists in his previous nine games. The Heat went 2-for-5 with the man advantage, and obviously had a perfect night on the penalty kill.

Chad Billins looks on as Joni Ortio makes one of his 34 saves during a 6-0 Abbotsford Heat win over the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Chad Billins looks on as Joni Ortio makes one of his 34 saves during a 6-0 Abbotsford Heat win over the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

More, including highlights, after the jump.

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Dean Arsene rocks a wicked beard during a 4-3 overtime loss in AHL action. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Heat – Comets photo gallery

The Utica Comets took consecutive overtime wins off the Abbotsford Heat this past weekend. Sadly I don’t have time to write anything pithy about the Heat’s current scoring woes (16 goals during three wins and seven losses in 2014), or Utica’s recent dominance in head-to-head matchups (six losses in a row and counting).

Dean Arsene rocks a wicked beard
Dean Arsene rocks a wicked beard. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

If there were time, it would be easy to point to Heat goaltender Joey MacDonald’s comical giveaway behind his own net on the tying goal late in the game, or to defenseman Chris Breen’s stick snapping in half at the opposition blueline, directly leading to Benn Ferriero’s game-winning goal.

But there isn’t. So after the jump, I’ll just share my Heat – Comets photo gallery.

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Vancouver Canucks prospect Kellen Lain and Calgary Flames property Carter Bancks line up for a face-off in AHL action. Clint Trahan photo courtesy of the Abbotsford Heat.

Comets get icy reception, win anyway

Michael Ferland of the Abbotsford Heat knocks Utica Comets defenseman Kent Huskins off his feet with a single punch in AHL action. Clint Trahan photo courtesy of the Abbotsford Heat.
Michael Ferland of the Abbotsford Heat knocks Utica Comets defenseman Kent Huskins off his feet with a single punch in AHL action. Clint Trahan photo courtesy of the Abbotsford Heat.

The Abbotsford Heat find themselves worrying about the Vancouver Canucks affiliate Utica Comets.

They don’t need to concern themselves with a 3–2 decision to the lowly Comets on Friday night. Even after the loss, the Heat have won eight of their last ten games and sit in first overall in the AHL standings. The Comets, for their part, picked up just their fifth win of the year, and would not have done so without some serious heroics on the part of their goaltender. Under siege most of the night — including a third period that saw the Heat outshoot the Comets 13–2 — Joe Cannata made 35 saves for unanimous first star honours.

No, the Heat this season haven’t had to wring hands as they’ve done in the past about the number of pucks hitting the backs of the net. What they have worried about, though, is the ever-dwindling number of bums in seats at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre.

More after the jump.

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Monster Show in Abbotsford

It was a result fitting of the theme last night at the AESC. On a night where ghosts and ghouls took in the action off the ice, the Monsters took it to the Heat on the ice.

In stark contrast from the night before when the Heat banked a convincing 4-2 victory over the Lake Erie Monsters, the team dropped a 3-1 decision to the visitors.

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Trick or Treat? The Abbotsford Heat’s annual Monster Mash game on Saturday, October 26 brought all kinds of hair-raising beings to the AESC. Thanks to photog extraordinaire Clint Trahan for the picture.

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Abbotsford Heat 3, Toronto Marlies 1

Abbotsford Heat defenseman Mark Cundari has four assists and 13 penalty minutes in just two games since being acquired in the Jay Bouwmeester deal. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Abbotsford Heat defenseman Mark Cundari has four assists and 13 penalty minutes in just two games since being acquired in the Jay Bouwmeester deal. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Hockey fans in Abbotsford were treated to another Hall of Famer at centre ice as the hometown Heat beat the Toronto Marlies 3-1 on Sunday afternoon. Two days after legendary forward Darryl Sittler opened the curtain on a 3-0 Heat win, goaltender Johnny Bower was in attendance to shake hands with Abbotsford goaltender Barry Brust, who earlier this season broke Bower’s AHL record for consecutive shutout minutes. Brust went 268:17 without allowing a goal, eclipsing Bower’s mark of 249:51, set with the 1957 Cleveland Barons.

Brust was called upon to relieve the injured Danny Taylor in the second period, and stopped all but one shot to record the win for Abbotsford.

Mark Cundari was again impressive for the Heat. He earned three assists, two minor penalties and a fight in his second game since being traded to the Calgary Flames organization in the Jay Bouwmeester deal. Cundari has quickly become a fan favourite in Abbotsford, leading many to lament the fact that he was not in the lineup earlier in the season when the team floundered through a series of “must-win” games.

In addition to the Bower / Brust tête-a-tête, fans witnessed the Heat’s franchise-best 23rd home victory in the final game at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre this season. Sadly, those 46 points gained at home did not add up to a playoff spot for the Heat, whose road record leaves much to be desired. The team sits in 12th spot in the Western Conference and were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs despite the back-to-back wins this weekend.

More after the jump.

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Abbotsford Heat 3, Toronto Marlies 0

Danny Taylor posted his third shutout of the season, and Tyler Ruegsegger scored the winning goal eight minutes into the game as the Abbotsford Heat blanked the Toronto Marlies 3-0 on Friday night.

Danny Taylor stopped  25 shots for his third shutout of the season as the Abbotsford Heat beat the Toronto Marlies 3-0 on April 12, 2013. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Danny Taylor stopped 25 shots for his third shutout of the season as the Abbotsford Heat beat the Toronto Marlies 3-0 on April 12, 2013. Vancouver Giants defenseman Brett Kulak saw action in his second professional game in the win. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

All but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the Heat played a looser brand of hockey than they have in weeks. The Marlies, sitting five points clear atop the North Division, looked as if they were saving themselves for post-season play in 10 days’ time. The result saw Abbotsford score once in each period, including power play goals in the second and third. By the time Toronto mounted pressure, their main goal seemed to be spoiling Taylor’s shutout.

More after the jump.

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Grand Rapids Griffins forward Landon Ferraro scored twice in a 4-1 win over the Abbotsford Heat. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Grand Rapids Griffins 4, Abbotsford Heat 1

The Abbotsford Heat came into Friday night’s game desperate for a win, but it was Landon Ferraro and the Grand Rapids Griffins who left with two points. With his father Ray, veteran of over 1,200 NHL games and 10 years of work in the broadcast booth, in attendance, Ferraro scored twice including the game-winner to further ruin any hope of the Abbotsford Heat backing into the playoffs.

Grand Rapids Griffins forward Landon Ferraro scored twice in a 4-1 win over the Abbotsford Heat. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Grand Rapids Griffins forward Landon Ferraro scored twice in a 4-1 win over the Abbotsford Heat. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

The Heat are now three points back of the Chicago Wolves for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, with the Wolves having three games in hand. Abbotsford has won just three games in their last 10. More after the jump.

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Sven Bärtschi on a roll for the Abbotsford Heat

Huge props to Caleb Henry of the BCIT Broadcasting program for shooting some footage at the most recent Abbotsford Heat home stand, including a brief interview with Sven Bärtschi. (No, I don’t ask him if he’s ever been to Utica.)

Despite playing just 30 games with the AHL team this season — he missed a chunk of the year due to injury, and spent 10 games with the big club in Calgary — he is the fifth leading scorer on the team with 25 points.  That includes a goal and an assist in each of the last three Heat wins. That shouldn’t surprise anyone, as he proved himself as an elite threat with the Portland Winterhawks in his last year in the WHL, notching exactly two points per game: 94 points in 47 games. With the departure of Jarome Iginla from the Flames, don’t be surprised to see Bärtschi take a more regular position at the Saddledome next season.

Check out Caleb’s editing handiwork below. It’s our first foray into full-on video coverage, so any and all feedback is much appreciated!

Abbotsford Heat forward Sven Bärtschi was dangerous, but ultimately failed to score in a 5-2 loss to the Rockford Ice Hogs. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
The Abbotsford Heat are 17-7-3-3 with Sven Bärtschi in the lineup this season. The Swiss forward hasn’t found his scoring touch when called up to the Calgary Flames just yet, but at the AHL level he’s a threat each and every game. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Steve Montador sits on the Rockford Ice Hogs bench during the final period of his third game back from concussion. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Abbotsford Heat playoff hopes fading fast

The Rockford Ice Hogs didn’t just beat the Abbotsford Heat on Friday night. They lined up the nails all neat-like, threw what was left of the Heat’s playoff hopes in the coffin, and started hammering away.

Rockford Ice Hogs captain Martin St Pierre scored once and added a pair of assists in a 5-2 win over the Abbotsford Heat. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Rockford Ice Hogs captain Martin St Pierre scored once and added a pair of assists in a 5-2 win over the Abbotsford Heat. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

The home side tossed 35 shots at Ice Hogs goaltender Henrik Karlsson, but could only beat him twice. Coming the other way, Abbotsford goaltenders Barry Brust and Danny Taylor combined for just 21 saves on 26 shots. Do the math and you’ve got a 5-2 win for the visitors.

Coming into the game, the Heat sat one spot out of the playoff picture with 11 games remaining. That wouldn’t be so worrying if the teams around them didn’t have five games in hand. At this point in the season, with offensive threats like Sven Bärtschi, Ben Street and Max Reinhart all healthy, they just can’t spend all night making opposing goaltenders look good. Those other teams have a possible 10 extra points up for grabs with those additional games, so the chances of making the post-season start to look very slim indeed unless the Heat run the table. With the Ice Hogs win Friday, these teams swapped positions: the Heat now sit in 11th place in the Western Conference, while Rockford moves up to ninth.

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