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).
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.
At 17-6-1, the Abbotsford Heat sit atop the American Hockey League standings. Two of those losses came in back-to-back home defeats to the league-worst Utica Comets last weekend, so it’s fair to say the home team will turn up the heat on West Division rivals the San Antonio Rampage on December 6 & 7.
Friday is the annual Teddy Bear Toss, so here’s hoping a spirited bunch show up to rain stuffed animal goodness upon the ice. (Bring a new, unwrapped bear to the rink, and toss it over the boards when the Heat score their first goal of the night. All toys are gifted to the Abbotsford Christmas Bureau, an organization that helped more than 3,500 children during the holidays last year.)
Perhaps that goal will be scored by Ben Street, this week named the AHL Player of the Month for November 2013. Street scored 11 goals and added 8 assists in 15 games, a big reason the Heat rattled off a franchise record 12 wins in the month.
As for the opposition this weekend, local hockey fans will likely recognize Ryan Whitney, a 10-year veteran of NHL action with the Penguins, Oilers, and Ducks. Also of note: Steve Pinizzotto, who had a cup of coffee with the Vancouver Canucks after the lockout.
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.
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.
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.
At the Abbotsford Heat game last night, I got some great shots (and some not so marvellous pictures, too, but that’s the way she goes). Here’s something a little different. Check out this pic of Brad Mills drawing a penalty shot in the second period. Then look below to see a shot by Heat photographer Clint Trahan of the exact same moment in the game — there’s me photobombing the shot behind Danny Taylor in the Abbotsford net.
The Abbotsford Heat hosted the Rochester Americans in a rare morning game this week, and outlasted the visitors 3-2 in front of an energetic school aged crowd. Danny Taylor made 17 stops, earning his eighth win in his last 11 starts. Both defenseman Brett Carson and forward Ben Street had a goal and an assist in the victory.
With the win, the Heat maintained their position atop the North Division, two points clear of second-place Lake Erie Monsters. They now have 55 points in 46 games, and are the only team remaining in the AHL to have allowed fewer than 100 goals on the season thus far.
Pucked in the Head was at the AESC, and is happy to file this game report. Post-game quotes and photo gallery after the jump.
The Abbotsford Heat won their fourth game in a row with a 2-0 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon. Barry Brust, fresh off being named to the AHL All-Star Game being played in a week’s time, collected his fourth shutout of the season.
It was a good end to a 10-game home stand for the Heat, who had at one point fallen from first overall in the American Hockey League to eighth in the Western Conference. With the perfect weekend against the Nashville Predators farm team, the Heat now have 49 points in 40 games, good for fifth in the West. They are tied in points with the North Division leading Toronto, but have played two more games than the Marlies.
The Heat got goals from forward Krys Kolanos and blueliner Brett Carson, the same two goal-scorers from the previous night’s 2-1 victory over the Admirals. Below you can listen to Carson’s post-game reaction from that game. It marks two goals in two starts for Carson, who took 34 games to score that many in the AHL last season. Both players were on the bubble of making the opening night Calgary Flames roster, but were late cuts in the shortened training camp once the NHL lockout ended 10 days ago.
The Chicago Wolves won back-to-back games against the Abbotsford Heat this weekend, including a 1-0 shutout win on Saturday night. Here’s a collection of images from that contest, for your ogling pleasure. All photos by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Pucked in the Head is happy to have the one and only Kennedy Goodkey guest posting for us this evening. Please hold your applause until the end of the introductory paragraph. Mr Goodkey has joined us for a couple of podcast episodes in the past, most notably in Top 7 Canucks Nicknames, Part I & Part II.
This marks the first time he has trekked up the road to an Abbotsford Heat AHL game, and it happened to be on the very day that NHL hockey was officially announced to be coming back from the lockout. He decided to record a running commentary of the evening as he went, warts and all. By ‘running commentary’, I mean just that. He goes from folk rock to sports aha-moments to popcorn in, dude, mere seconds. And by ‘warts and all’, I mean ‘complete with double spaces after periods, like some retired receptionist who still thinks Robert Goulet is just the dreamiest. I can say that because I am, in fact, Robert Goulet.
Not to take anything away from Kennedy’s usage of the word ‘antipodal’ — which is awesome, by the way, my favourite part is when he writes, “I must be some kind of elitist hockey-jerk.” But don’t let me spoil everything for you. Have a gander after the jump, and enjoy! Just remember that Mr Goodkey’s opinions are entirely his own, and with the exception of his loathing for the song Cotton-Eyed Joe, they do not reflect the deep, inner love and respect for all human life levels of hockey that Chris Withers and I hold dear.
— Jason Kurylo, who is, like, totally bogarting Kennedy’s opening
The Abbotsford Heat earned a split in their back-to-back set against the Rochester Americans with a 3-1 victory on Saturday night. After the jump, grab a gander at some images from the contest. Or just read about it here.
Either way, give a guy a hand with some fundraising for the Ride to Conquer Cancer.