After coming away with one of a possible four points in a disappointing series with their rivals, the Manitoba Moose, the Heat went right back at it three nights later for a series with the Adirondack Phantoms. The Heat bounced back after their two losses to the Moose with a 3-2 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers farm club. Michael Leighton was in net for the Phantoms for this game; as you may recall Leighton was in net for the Philadelphia Flyers while they were in the Stanley Cup finals against the Chicago Blackhawks last year. Leighton signed a decent sized contract with the Flyers but was sent down to the minors to play with the Phantoms. The game of musical goalies continues in Philadelphia, and yet the Flyers seem to continue to stay on top of their conference and keep winning games despite who is in net for them.
The next night, game two of the series with the Phantoms, went down and the Heat were triumphant again with another win over the Phantoms with an identical score of 3-2, again coming via the shootout; Matt Keith got the winner for the Heat. There was no particular player that stood out in this series, everyone contributed on the score sheet to get the sweep. After five days of rest for the Abbotsford Heat, the Toronto Marlies rolled into town for a two game stint with the Heat. The Heat kept their short winning streak alive with a win over the baby Maple Leafs with a 3-2 regulation win in game one of the mini series; John Armstrong had the winning goal for the Heat.
After a day of rest, the Heat had a Sunday morning game two that was broadcasted live on CBC. This time the Heat came up a little short and lost 3-2 to the Marlies in the shootout. The Heat salvaged a point and hasn’t lost in regulation in five games.
So after a dismal start to their home stand, the Heat are sitting in pretty good shape, getting eight of twelve possible points so far. The short lived return of Mikael Backlund had little or no impact. With the situation in Calgary with Darryl Sutter stepping down, who knows if we will see Backlund back in a Heat uniform any time soon. I hope for the Heat it will be a case of Backlund being sent back and forth from Calgary to Abbotsford to add a little more punch to the Heat’s offense. The Heat have a series coming up with the Peoria Rivermen, then they go to Manitoba to play the Moose in a very important divisional match up. The Heat won’t be back in town until February 11 to play a series with the Toronto Marlies. The Heat is currently sitting fifth in their division and one point out of a playoff spot. At week’s end the Heat is 19-17-2-4. Don’t forget to look for student deals on Heat tickets! For more Heat and hockey insider stuff follow me on Twitter @JustinOrly.