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.
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.