By Win Wachsmann. The Rockford Icehogs rode into town and after 60 minutes of rooting around the Abbotsford Arts and Entertainment Centre defeated the Abbotsford Heat 5-2 on Friday.
The Heat with a record of 29-28-9 have lost all three games they played against the Icehogs (33-28-2) this season. Rockford has won 11 of its last 14 games.
The Heat have won 3 of their last 14 games, are in a bit of a slump and are struggling to make the playoffs. The return of rookie sensation Sven Baertschi to the Heat from parent Calgary Flames may have helped as the Heat have two wins and four losses since he returned.
The Icehogs started the scoring at 7:23 of the first when winger Brandon Svendsen took a pass from Beaudoin and fired a shot from the slot that beat Abbotsford goalie Barry Brust. Dylan Olsen got the second assist.
The Icehogs got two more goals from Martin St. Pierre and Steve Montador before Heat goalie Barry Brust was pulled by coach Troy G. Ward. Brust made eight saves on eleven shots.
With the Icehogs on a powerplay as a result of an Abbotsford hooking penalty, Ben Street took down Brad Mills on a short-handed breakaway, resulting in a penalty shot at 9:22 of the second period.
Mills beat Danny Taylor on the penalty shot after flipping the puck to his backhand and sliding it past the goalie for his third goal of the season and the fourth goal of the game.
Abbotsford’s Brett Olson was sent off for highsticking at 11;44 and the Heat rose to the occasion.
After missing the net on a breakaway, Carter Bancks saw Dylan Olsen’s broken stick, stickhandled past the defence and fired past Icehog goalie Henrik Karlsson’s glove for his fourth goal of the season.
With just 36 seconds left in the middle frame, Greg Nemisz deflected Joe Callahan’s shot to make it 4-2 for Rockford.
With just 8 shots in the third period, the Heat saw their attempted comeback deflated when Rostilav Olesz fired a rebound from Ryan Stanton past Taylor at 14:02 of the third.
Taylor finished the game with 13 saves on 15 shots.
Rockford goalie Henrik Karlsson made 33 saves against Abbotsford.
The Heat wer 0-3 on penalties.
The Heat meet the Rockford Icehogs again on Saturday at 7 PM.
Photo by Clint Trahan