By Win Wachsmann. The Abbotsford Heat defeated the Rockford Icehogs 4-3 in overtime on Saturday at the Abbotsford Arts and Entertainment Centre.
Roman(the Candle) Horak lit up the Icehog net light at 2:17 of overtime to give the Heat their second win in six games.
Horak and Sven Baertschi raced into the Icehog zone where Baertschi, drawing the defenders to himself, fed the puck to Horak who fired it at Karlsson’s five-hole for his 15th goal of the season. The goal ended a drought of 24 games for Horak.
Abbotsford (30-28-9) moved into a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference with nine games left to play and a playoff berth still in sight.
The first period was scoreless as the two teams battled end to end.
The Heat scored first at 11:49 of the second period. Ben Street was racing down the right wing when he fired at Icehog goalie Henrik Karlsson. Karlsson stopped the shot but rebounded out to Ben Walter who wristed it into the net
Just after the 18 minute mark of the second period the Heat were scrambling in front of the Icehog net. Icehog defenceman Klas Dahlbeck tried to clear the puck when Tyler Ruegsegger intercepted the pass and fired it into the net for his eighth goal of the season. The goal was unassisted.
With Roman Horak off for tripping, the Icehogs scored at 4:27 when Danny Taylor stoned Jeremy Morin. The puck flopped out to to Brandon Pirri at the side of the net who didn’t miss and put it past Taylor. Jeremy Morin and Shawn Lalonde got the assists.
As both teams were scrambling in front of the Icehog net, Ben Smith’s initial shot was blocked by Heat defender Mike Matczak but he tied the score at 8:02 by flipping his own rebound over Danny Taylor.
With just 4:25 left in 3rd period, the Heat retook the lead when Sven Baertschi took a feed from Max Reinhart and put the Heat ahead 3-2. Drew McKenzie got the second asist.
With just 1:05 left in the game, and the Heat ahead 3-2, the Heat’s Ben Street was penalized 2 minutes for Holding. That brought out the boo birds who thought that ref Mark Lemelin’s call was a stretch.
The Icehogs pulled their goalie and now had a 6-4 man advantage. All the activity stayed in the Heat end and
With the audience standing and cheering, the Icehogs’ Be Smith found Rostislav Olesz who beat Heat goalie Danny Taylor with a one-timer into the top right corner. Jeremy Morin got the second assist.
The overtime saw some scrappy play before Horak scored the winner at 2:17.
Danny Taylor stopped 39 of 42 shots while Henrik Karlsson stopped 21 of 25 Heat shots.
Three stars 1. ABB – 30 Danny Taylor 2. ABB – 20 Roman Horak 3. RFD – 27 Brandon Pirri
The next Heat games are against the Hamilton Bulldogs on Wednesday March 27 in Hamilton and Friday March 29 at Copps Coliseum, before a Saturday matinee against the Toronto Marlies.
The Grand Rapids Griffins visit the AESC on April 5th and 6th.
Next home action sees the Grand Rapids Griffins visit the AESC on April 5th and 6th. For tickets and more information on the Heat, call 1-877-452-HEAT(4328) or visit www.AbbotsfordHeat.com.
Cover photo by Clint Trahan