The Abbotsford Heat were out for vengeance after Friday night’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of the visiting Texas Stars, and obtained it with a 3-2 shootout win on Saturday.
The first chances of the game came from a shot by captain Quintin Laing and another from Ben Street. Street’s was the end result of a nice coast-to-coast rush, but his wrist-shot ended up in Stars’ goalie Jack Campbell’s bread basket. Heat goalie Barry Brust was also up to the challenge as he made two desperation saves while on his back to keep the game scoreless. The first period was brought to a close with a fight between Stars winger Francis Wathier and the Heat’s Chris Breen. Breen used his extra height to drop Wathier with relative ease.
At the 5:13 mark of the 2nd, Stars forward Matt Fraser scored through traffic, as a bouncing puck evaded Brust’s outstretched glove. This sparked some more physical play from both sides, culminating in Brust losing his helmet after a collision with Wathier. Halfway through the period, one of the league’s most lethal power plays saw Krys Kolanos score the tying goal for the Heat off a perfect cross-ice assist from Ben Street.
The third period was largely uneventful, aside from solid play from both goaltenders. The scoreless third was followed by a series of fruitless chances in overtime, leading to a shootout.
The Heat prevailed in the shootout with goals by T.J. Brodie, Roman Horak and Kolanos. Tomas Vincour and Jordie Benn tallied for the Stars. Kolanos’ shootout winner was his second goal of the night and earned him the center-ice salute from his team post-game, designating him the MVP.
No one on the Heat seemed satisfied with their play. Coach Ward seemed less than thrilled, stating “we hung in there. You gotta give some people credit for that,” placing obvious emphasis on the word “some”. Street agreed, “we were fortunate to get a point out of that … it did kind of feel like we were holding on.” Conversely, there was consistent support for Brust, who earned his second shootout win of the season to make his record 7-1-2. Street said that the team is confident with Brust backstopping them – “he plays like a third defensemen, so it’s nice to have him out there.” Coach Ward praised his development over his past few games: “his puck play was … different than it has been in the last couple weeks. He was more patient in the net, more calm because he didn’t have to work as hard.”
The Heat kick off a nine game road trip on Wednesday, December 19th versus the Chicago Wolves.