Print Edition: April 9, 2014
The Abbotsford Heat won 5-3 against the Rockford Icehogs Saturday night. The team started and finished strong, with three goals scored in the first period and two scored in the third.
Corbin Knight, after receiving a pass from Max Reinhart, brought in an immediate goal in the first few minutes, setting the pace for the game. The assist, his first of three that night, extended Reinhart’s point streak to seven games. Derek Smith added the team’s next goal at the first period’s midway point, then Blair Jones scored 30 seconds later, again assisted by Reinhart.
At this point, the Icehogs switched out starting goaltender Kent Simpson for Jason LaBarbara in an attempt to shift momentum away from the Heat’s relentless offense, but at the end of the first period the score was still 3-0.
Garret Ross scored the Icehogs’ first goal in the second period on a deflected shot. Heat head coach Troy G. Ward admitted his team lacked the motivation in the second period they’d brought to the first, but focused more on what he can control from the bench.
“I’m more concerned about our ice management,” he said, commenting on the team’s tendency to sometimes take lengthy shifts. “I thought that affected the second half of the game.”
The Icehogs came closest to tying the game when Stephen Johns scored a swift wrap-around goal in the third period, raising the score to 4-3.
But the Heat performed efficiently — after Johns’ goal, Ward called a timeout, and for the rest of the game the Heat stayed one step ahead of their opponent.
There were several shots in the third period towards the Heat goal, but between Ortio’s saves and the team’s solid offense, the only change in score came from Brett Olson’s empty-net goal 31.2 seconds before the final buzzer.
Ward praised the team’s effort, saying that in the third period they “played with better pace.”
Blair Jones, awarded the game’s first star, was absent for the last nine games due to various injuries. Saturday was his first game back, and afterwards he said, “I’ve had my fair share of injuries this season, so it was kind of nice to rest.” Commenting on Jones’ performance, Ward said “he was one of our better players.”
The Heat are now preparing for their next game on Friday, April 11 against the Oklahoma City Barons, their last home series of the regular season.