The Abbotsford Heat defeated the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche) 5-2 on Friday night in the season opening game at Quicken Loans Arena. The Heat were led by rookies Josh Jooris (1+1) and Ben Hanowski (2+0), who were named the game’s first and second star respectively.
The first five minutes of play featured back and forth action, until the Monsters earned a power play at the 5:56 mark. Monsters Captain Bryan Lerg was able to capitalize on a rebound with nine seconds left in the man advantage to give Lake Erie a 1-0 lead. Lake Erie outshot the Heat 11-6 after 20 minutes.
The Heat controlled the second period, scoring three unanswered goals. Chad Billins opened the scoring for the Heat on the power play, assisted by Corban Knight and Max Reinhart. At the 8:30 mark of the second, Abbotsford took their first lead on a goal from Drew MacKenzie, assisted by Blair Jones. The Heat converted on their next power play, on Ben Hanowski’s first regular season American Hockey League goal, assisted by Paul Byron and Josh Jooris. Goaltender Reto Berra stopped all nine shots he faced in the period, and the Heat led 3-1 after 40 minutes.
The Monsters started off the third period with an early goal by Brad Malone just 58 seconds in. At 14:15, Josh Jooris put the Heat up 4-2, assisted by Paul Byron and Greg Nemisz. Ben Hanowski scored his second goal of the game into an empty net with 1:05 left in the game to complete the scoring, assisted by Brett Olson and Tyler Wotherspoon.
The Heat finished the night two for six on the power play, while the penalty kill was three for four.
Reto Berra allowed two goals on 33 shots in the win, while Lake Erie goaltender Sami Aittokallio allowed four goals on 25 shots.
The Heat and Monsters will wrap up their doubleheader tomorrow night at 6:00 EDT at Quicken Loans Arena. The Heat home opener weekend is October 11th and 12th against the Milwaukee Admirals with both games starting at 7:00PM. October 11th will feature an autograph session with NHL legend Guy Lafleur and is presented by Rossdown Farms & Natural Foods. If you purchase a group of 10 or more tickets before October 7th, you will be entered to win a Thanksgiving turkey dinner for 10 people during the October 11th Heat game. To purchase tickets call 1-877-452-HEAT or visit www.AbbotsfordHeat.com.