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  1. #16
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    http://www.bclocalnews.com/fraser_va...115522424.html

    HEAT HAPPY WITH KOTALIK
    By Dan Kinvig - Abbotsford News

    Published: February 07, 2011 3:00 PM
    Updated: February 07, 2011 3:54 PM

    Three games into Ales Kotalik's tenure with the Abbotsford Heat, the AHL club is pleased with the early returns.

    "He's brought us everything we hoped he would," Heat assistant coach Troy Ward said. "He's brought us offence, he's brought us experience.

    "I like how he's handled himself and how he's carried himself."

    Kotalik, a veteran of eight NHL seasons who is in the second year of a three-year, $9 million contract, was reassigned to Abbotsford by the NHL parent Calgary Flames on Jan. 28.

    The 32-year-old forward joined the Heat last week for a three-games-in-three-days gauntlet on the road, beginning with a 4-3 shootout win over the Chicago Wolves on Friday and continuing with a pair of 3-2 losses to the Rockford IceHogs and the Lake Erie Monsters.

    Kotalik made himself conspicuous offensively, posting three assists. He's still looking for his first goal, but it's not for lack of effort – he registered 17 shots over the three games, including 10 on Saturday against Rockford.

    Kotalik's linemates for the bulk of the weekend were Gaelan Patterson and Cam Cunning, but he spent the third period on Sunday skating with Ryan Stone and Greg Nemisz. He's also played the point on the power play.

    The Czech forward hasn't played a lot of hockey this season, getting into just 20 games with the Flames – a combination of a knee injury at the start of the year and frequent healthy scratches prior to his reassignment.

    "He's just kind of getting himself together right now," Ward said. "But he's competed really hard."

    The Heat are in the midst of a stretch of seven games in nine nights. They conclude their 10-game road trip with stops in Hamilton on Tuesday and Rochester on Wednesday, before returning home for a Friday-Saturday set with the Toronto Marlies.

    Ward said the coaching staff has been instructing the youthful Heat squad on how to maximize rest effectively during the compressed portion of the schedule.

    "The one thing we want them to understand is that regardless of how many games in how many days, it doesn't change how we want to play or approach the game," Ward said.

  2. #17
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    “A dream come true” for Abbotsford Heat’s Lance Boum
    By Cam Tucker, Abbotsford Times

    Growing up a young boy in the small Alberta town of Provost, Lance Bouma was geographically split between Calgary and Edmonton.

    His hockey allegiances, however, fell to Edmonton; the City of Champions, and home of the Oilers.

    Born in 1990, Bouma wasn’t even three months old when the Oilers won their last Stanley Cup. The dynasty produced by the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and a host of others was just coming to an end.

    Cheering for the Oilers also meant Bouma loathed the Calgary Flames.

    The irony was not lost on the Abbotsford Heat rookie forward Thursday when he was recalled by those same Flames, the team that drafted Bouma in the third round of the 2008 NHL entry draft.

    It seems sacrilegious in the hockey world for someone to jump ship between rivals, especially given the seemingly timeless feud between Calgary and Edmonton, better known as the Battle of Alberta.

    But in this case, that’s what happened.

    “That mostly changed when I got drafted by the Flames,” said the 20-year-old Bouma with a chuckle.

    And now that he is with the Flames – he was expected to join his new teammates in Calgary today – that’s sure to have changed for good.

    The former Vancouver Giant captain said he anticipates drawing into the Flames lineup Saturday night – on Hockey Night in Canada – against the Los Angeles Kings.

    Not a bad way to start an NHL career.

    “It’s a dream come true,” he said.

    “It’s something you work towards your whole career is to be able to play in the National Hockey League and I’m very excited and looking to forward to the opportunity.”

    Bouma openly admitted that with family making the trek south to the Pengrowth Saddledome for his NHL debut, nerves will be an instinctive reaction.

    “Obviously anyone’s going to be nervous in that situation, but really at the same time I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

    “I can’t wait for the chance to get out there and just play.”

    It seems simple.

    After all, that’s what Bouma’s game is all about.

    His offensive numbers, even dating back to his junior days, don’t jump out like with other prospects.

    Prior to being recalled, Bouma had scored 11 goals in 49 games with the AHL heat and was on pace for his highest goal total since he joined the Giants in 2005.

    He scored 14 in the 2009-2010 season, his last as a junior.

    Flash just isn’t a word you’ll find in Bouma’s vernacular. Of his 11 goals down on the farm, the vast majority have come from within a few feet of the net – rebounds, scrambles, and wraparounds.

    Perhaps lacking a pure offensive touch, Bouma’s game revolves around diving feat (and once with his head) first to block shots. He hits, he fights. He is blue collar by definition.

    No sense changing that now.

    “When I talked to Jay Feaster, he told me to just come in and create energy and be responsible, and give us a lot of good minutes out there,” Bouma said of his conversation with the Flames acting general manager when he got The Call.

    And that’s exactly what Heat head coach Jim Playfair predicts Bouma will bring to the Flames.

    “I think it’s good for him,” said Playfair.

    “That's what Jay Feaster wanted to do, create a lot of energy up there. [Bouma] will bring a lot of energy up there. He'll work hard for them.”


    Read more: http://www.abbotsfordtimes.com/sport...#ixzz1DM0gGVHO
    Recorded his first point tonight, assisting Backlunds goal against the Hawks.

  3. #18
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    http://theahl.com/tue-roundup-irving...e-dogs-p169299
    February 8, 2011


    ABBOTSFORD 4, HAMILTON 3
    Abbotsford goaltender Leland Irving made 21 saves for his league-leading 21st win of the season (21-16-2), and the Heat continued a season-high 10-game road trip by taking a 4-3 decision from Hamilton on Tuesday night at Copps Coliseum.

    The Heat are now 4-4-0-1 on the journey, which concludes on Wednesday night in Rochester. Abbotsford halted a two-game losing skid and collected its first regulation win since its last home tilt, a 2-0 victory over Peoria on Jan. 19.

    Irving, a former first-round draft pick by the Calgary Flames, also moved past Worcester’s Alex Stalock for the league lead in minutes played this season (2,420).

    Abbotsford raced out to a 3-0 first-period advantage on goals by Ryan Stone (1:08), John Armstrong (3:39), and Jon Rheault (10:21). But Hamilton battled back to make it a 3-2 game heading into the third frame, receiving markers from Aaron Palushaj and Andrew Conboy.

    Heat forward Bryan Cameron scored the eventual game-winning goal 2:41 into the third period to make it 4-2, and Gabriel Dumont tallied the contest’s final goal at 12:13.

    The Bulldogs lost for the fourth time in five games (1-4-0-0) but remain just one point back of first-place Manitoba in the North Division race.

  4. #19
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    http://www.abbotsfordheat.com/ViewAr...CLID=205093132
    February 9, 2011


    ROCHESTER NY - Leland Irving turned aside 30 shots to pick up his fourth shutout of the season as the Abbotsford Heat shutout the Rochester Americans 1-0 in AHL action on Wednesday night in upstate New York.


    Irving posted his second straight shutout in Rochester, as on December 14th the Heat shutout the Americans 1-0. In this game, Irving was great in the first and spectacular in the third period, taking a sure goal away from Burnaby's Kendall McArdle in the waning minutes of the third to preserve the win.


    Aldergrove's Matt Keith would add his team leading 17th goal of the season in the second period, as he hammered a one-timer past Americans goalie Tyler Plante at 12:30. TJ Brodie would start the play and pick up his team leading 20th assist of the season, while Patterson's helper broke a drought of 17 games without a helper for the rookie centre.


    The Heat wrap up the franchise high 10 game road trip with a 5-4-0-1 record and remain tied with the Toronto Marlies for fourth place in the North Division, now just one point back of the Lake Erie Monsters for third in the division.


    The Heat will return home to kick off a six game home stand, beginning this Friday when they take on the Marlies. You can catch all the action on Country 107.1 FM and AHL Live. The pregame show begins at 6:30 PM, with Dave Sheldon and Craig MacEwen providing the call of the game at 4:05 PST.

  5. #20
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    http://www.abbotsfordheat.com/ViewAr...CLID=205094516

    ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Ryan Stone would score a natural hat trick and Leland Irving would make 27 saves as the Abbotsford Heat defeated the Toronto Marlies 4-1 in AHL action on Friday night in the Fraser Valley.

    Gord Baldwin added the opening goal of the game for Abbotsford, his first in 56 games, to get the Heat on the board midway thru the second period. After a Ryan Hamilton goal would tie the game at 1-1, Stone scored his first of three goals on the night.

    Stone's first goal came after Ales Kotalik controlled a Heat faceoff win by Stone deep in Toronto territory. A quick pass forward by Kotalik to Stone allowed the Heat centre to snap home a shot past Marlies goalie Ben Scrivens to give the Heat a 2-1 lead at 15:42 of the second period. The Heat carried their 2-1 lead into the third and dominated the opening minutes of the final frame, leading to a penalty by Marlies rookie Nazim Kadri. With Kadri in the box, the Heat power play clicked, with Aldergrove's Matt Keith sliding the puck to the far post and Stone banging in the loose puck to give the Heat a 3-1 lead at 3:15. Stone completed the hat trick by picking up a loose puck in the Heat end, winding out to the centre ice area and hitting the empty net with just under two minutes to play.

    Leland Irving was sharp, picking up where he left off on Wednesday in Rochester by stopping 27 of 28 Toronto shots fired his way. It was Irving's third win of the week and his league leading 23rd win of the season.

    With the win, the Heat moves to within three points of division leading Manitoba and into a playoff position in the north Division. Abbotsford (26-22-2-5) now has 59 points, leapfrogging the Marlies and Lake Erie Monsters from fifth place in to third place in the tightly packed North Division.

    The Heat will once again face off versus the Toronto Marlies Saturday night at the Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre. Fans are reminded that it's 'LOONIE-TOONIE DOG AND BREW NIGHT' at the AESC, with hot dogs for $1 and a cold beer for $2. Puck drops on all the exciting AHL action at 7:00pm.

  6. #21
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    Wow there's absolutely no fans in this team section.

  7. #22
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    February 12, 2011: http://www.abbotsfordheat.com/ViewAr...CLID=205095235

    ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Leland Irving would continue his exceptional goaltending between the pipes for the Abbotsford Heat, collecting his second shutout of the week and fourth straight win, as the Heat would skate to a 3-0 victory over the Toronto Marlies in AHL action Saturday night.

    Abbotsford would open the scoring at 13:45 of the opening period when defenseman Chris Breen scored his second of the season. Breen would blast a bullet from the point that would take a hard bounce off the end boards and deflect in off the skate of Toronto Marlies goaltender Jussi Rynnas to give the Heat a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.

    Cam Cunning provided the Heat with a two goal cushion early in to the second, chipping home a Gaelan Patterson pass in front of Rynnas to make it a 2-0 game for the Heat. The game would remain 2-0 heading to the final period of play.

    Stefan Meyer would give the Heat some insurance with a power play marker in the late stages of the third, as Meyer would bang in another Gaelan Patterson pass past Rynnas to give the Heat a 3-0 lead. With the victory the Heat are now tied with the Hamilton Bulldogs for second place in the North Division.

    The Heat will now travel to Calgary to take on the Edmonton Oilers affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons at the Scotiabank Sattledome. The game sets off a weekend of hockey festivities that lead up to the Heritage Classic on Sunday. Catch all the action on Country 107.1 with the puck dropping at 6:00pm PST.

  8. #23
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    http://www.abbotsfordheat.com/ViewAr...CLID=205095839

    ABBOTSFORD BC - For most AHL teams, seven games over nine nights may spell disaster. For the Abbotsford Heat, it meant posting a 5-2 record in the busiest span of their season, including a perfect 4-0 record over the past seven days.

    The Heat (27-22-2-5) used their hot week of play to climb the ladder in the North Division standings. Last Monday, the Heat were in 5th place, today, they are now in a tie for 2nd with the reigning division champions, the slumping Hamilton Bulldogs, and are just 3 points back of the Manitoba Moose for the division lead.

    THE WEEK THAT WAS:

    Tuesday - The Abbotsford Heat scored three goals in the opening 10:21 of the first period and cruised to a 4-3 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. The score flattered the home side as the Heat controlled the play and the chance in the Steel City for the bulk of the evening. Abbotsford's Ryan Stone, Jon Rheault, John Armstrong and Bryan Cameron scored in the victory. Leland Irving picked up the win, turning aside 21 shots.

    Wednesday - The Heat wrapped up their 10 game road trip in Rochester against the Americans with a 1-0 victory over last year's playoff foes. It marked the second time this season that the Heat walked in to the Blue Cross Arena and walked away with a 1-0 win. Aldergrove's Matt Keith would score the only goal of the game, while Leland Irving turned aside all 30 shots in the shutout win, his fourth goose egg of the season.

    Friday - The Heat returned home after nearly a month and played the Toronto Marlies in a key divisional series. Abbotsford drew first blood in the two game set, as Ryan Stone turned the natural hat trick, scoring the last three goals in a Heat 4-1 victory. Gord Baldwin scored his first goal of the campaign to open the scoring for Abbotsford, while Leland Irving continued his hot week, stopping 27 of 28 shots.

    Saturday - Clinical could best describe the closing game of the week for the Heat. Great goaltending, timely goals and sixty minutes of hard work allowed the Heat to dominate the Marlies 3-0 and sweep the week with a 4-0 record and take both games from the Marlies. Chris Breen, Cam Cunning and Stefan Meyer would score a goal in each period to pace the Heat offensively. Leland Irving would finish his week in style, scoring his second shutout of the week in turning aside 26 Toronto shots.

    HEAT NOTES:

    IRVING NOT SWERVING - Heat goalie Leland Irving turned this week into a statement week for his season. The Swan Hills, AB product picked up a 4-0 record over the past seven days, including two shutouts. In this span of games, Irving stopped 104 of 108 shots, posted a 1.00 GAA and a .964 save percentage.

    Irving leads the AHL in many categories, but as Heat Head Coach Jim Playfair points out, it is the win column that matters the most. 24 wins on the season leads the league. Nine wins in the shootout leads as well. Irving has a personal record in the shootout this season of 9-2. Overall, Irving is in the conversation in every goaltending category in the AHL: Wins-24 (1st), Goals against average-2.30 (10th), Save percentage-.912 (18th), Shutouts-5 (t-2nd), Games-46 (1st), Minutes-2620 (1st), Shootout wins-9 (1st), Saves-1149 (2nd). Irving's nine shootout wins in a single season has set an AHL record for the most in one season. Irving was nominated for the REEBOK AHL Player of the Week award this past week, but lost out to Aldergrove's Brad Thiessen, who tends goal for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.

    STONE IS ROLLING - Lost in the Leland Irving story this week is the play of Ryan Stone. Stone, a Calgary resident, signed with the Flames in the off season after a season with the Edmonton Oilers. With Edmonton, Stone suffered a horrific knee injury which didn't allow the centre to play until mid-December. Stone scored four goals this past week, helping the Heat to a 4-0 record. Stone also scored the first 'natural' hat trick in Heat history on Friday night over Toronto, scoring the last three goals of the game.

    JOLTIN' JOE - As flashy rookie TJ Brodie twists and turns all over the ice, his d-partner, Joe Piskula has allowed the Heat rookie the opportunity to freelance by bringing a defensive stability to the pair. Piskula leads the Heat with a +7 rating and along with Brodie are combined for a +13 rating this season.

    KOTALIK DISHES - Heat forward Ales Kotalik opened up his tenure in Abbotsford with six assists over his first seven games in Abbotsford. Head Coach Jim Playfair has deployed Kotalik on the point of the Heat power play and Kotalik has taken 37 shots in his first seven appearances for Abbotsford...including 10 shots in a game versus the Rockford Ice Hogs back on February 5th.

    THIS WEEK:

    Friday - The Abbotsford Heat will play a home game in Calgary versus the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers affiliate). This will mark the first meeting between the Barons and Heat this season and first of four games over the next month. The Barons are currently in the thick of the West Division playoff race, but despite their great record (28-19-2-5), the Barons are currently one point out of a playoff berth, yet just five points back of the division lead.

    Saturday: The Barons and Heat will wing their way to Abbotsford to finish off their weekend double header. Game time at the AESC will be at 7 PM.

    All of the Heat action can be heard on Country 107.1 FM. Dave Sheldon has the call of every game. For road games, the pregame show will get things started 15 minutes before faceoff, while at home Dave and Craig MacEwen of Roger's Sportsnet will get the Diamond Bar Equipment Pregame Show underway thirty minutes prior to puck drop.

    Please note that Friday's game is a home game. The pregame show can be heard at 5:30 PM on Country 107.1 FM...puck drop will take place at 6 PM.

  9. #24
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    http://www.abbotsfordheat.com/ViewAr...CLID=205099215

    February 18, 2011

    Calgary, AB - Oklahoma City Barons forward Alexandre Giroux would collect his 28th goal of his AHL campaign with just 1:06 remaining to upset the Abbotsford Heat 3-1 Friday night in the first game of the "Faceoff in the Foothills" weekend of hockey in Calgary, Alberta at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

    Ryan Stone would continue his recent hot streak notching his fifth marker in as many games, opening the scoring on Abbotsford's third shot of the match at 11:17 of the first. Stone capitalized on a turnover in the Oklahoma City end, collecting the loose puck at the top of the slot and snapping a shot past Barons goaltender Martin Gerber to give the Heat a 1-0 lead.

    Oklahoma City Barons forward Mark Arcobello picked up his first goal in the AHL, beating Heat goaltender Leland Irving under the crossbar at 7:18 of the second period to tie the game at one's. Former NHL goaltender Martin Gerber would have a solid second period stopping all eleven Heat shots including an early breakaway save on Heat forward Gaelan Patterson to keep the score locked at 1-1 going in to the final frame.

    Oklahoma City Barons always dangerous Alexandre Giroux would get the game winner at 18:54 of the third to collect his 28th marker of the season, while Chris Vandevelde picked up the empty netter at 19:42 to make it a final of 3-1 in the AHL's version of the battle of Alberta.

  10. #25
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    http://www.abbotsfordheat.com/ViewAr...CLID=205099992

    February 19, 2011

    Abbotsford, B.C. - Mark Arcobello would collect his second goal against the Heat in as many nights to complete the comeback, as the Oklahoma City Barons skated to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Abbotsford Heat Saturday night at the Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre.

    For the second night in a row Abbotsford would open the scoring with Greg Nemisz deflecting a point shot from Keith Seabrook past Barons goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers at 6:36 of the first. The Heat would build on their one goal lead at 12:49, as Gaelan Patterson would deliver a perfect pass to the stick of Logan MacMillan, sliding the puck under Drouin-Deslauriers making it 2-0 Heat. Local Abbotsford product Brad Moran would cut the Heat's lead to one late in the first snapping a shot past the blocker of Heat goaltender Leland Irving to make it a 2-1 game after one period of play.

    After a scoreless second period, the Barons tied the game on the power play as OK City forward Teemu Hartikainen made a nice move to beat Irving on a solo effort. The game would remain tied 2-2 and head to overtime, setting the stage for the Arcobello winner.

  11. #26
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    http://www.abbotsfordtimes.com/sport...407/story.html

    It's been exactly 180 days since the last time the Abbotsford Heat played a game worth two points, but that all changes Friday.

    In a bid to get back to the Calder Cup playoffs after missing out on the 16-team tournament last spring, the Heat drop the puck on the 2011/12 American Hockey League regular season Friday night in Cleveland against the Lake Erie Monsters (4:30 p.m. PDT).

    Much has been made over the Heat's Summer of Change, which saw former assistant coach Troy Ward take over from Jim Playfair, Ryan Walter succeed Tom Mauthe as the team's president, and a plethora of rookies and free agents wind up in Abbotsford during the last two weeks.

    Now it's time to play real games, and Friday will be worth two points.

    "It's definitely exciting," said Quintin Laing, who will retain the captaincy, at least for this two-game set against Lake Erie that concludes Saturday.

    "You want to get back to playing games as soon as you can, as soon as the season's over. That's all you can think about is playing again, so it's nice that it's right around the corner and we're excited."

    The 32-year-old Laing will enter his first full season with the Heat after starting the 2010/11 campaign with the Victoria Salmon Kings in the East Coast Hockey League.

    He was summoned back to the AHL in November when it became apparent the Heat needed a leader, someone with experience who could take charge of what was the youngest team in the league.

    Laing's status as elder statesman with the Heat doesn't appear to be in jeopardy, but the team's overall average age has gone up and so has the number of capable leaders.

    Insert Ben Walter, a 70-point man with the Lake Erie Monsters last season and son of team president Ryan Walter, former Canuck and Manitoba Moose grinder Guillaume Desbiens, Paul Byron, a 53-point man last season with the Portland Pirates, and defencemen Brendan Mikkelson and Clay Wilson.

    More veteran presence and more depth at all positions have given rise to some high expectations, perhaps the highest in the team's short but intriguing three-year history.

    "We have the guys to definitely have a good team and make a run in the playoffs for sure," said Walter.

    "It's just a matter of getting it all together right now, getting on the same page."

    The new bench boss warned it may take a while for the Heat to gain momentum, especially with a completely new system from the previous two years.

    "The players in general are excited about what they can be," said Ward. "I'm cautious right now to the fact that yeah, I think we could be a good hockey team . . . but I do know this from my five years straight in this league that it takes a lot of work to be a good team."

    Ward named Leland Irving as the Heat's starting goalie for Friday. The announcement comes as little surprise given Irving's MVP performance last season when he led all AHL goalies in shutouts with eight and was second in the league with 30 wins.

    It also appears as if the Heat will be without Carter Bancks, who didn't practice with the team Tuesday and will likely miss the first weekend of the season with an undisclosed injury.

  12. #27
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    http://www.bclocalnews.com/fraser_va...131370643.html

    The Abbotsford Heat delivered a victory for new head coach Troy Ward on opening night, edging the Lake Erie Monsters 2-1 in Cleveland on Friday.



    Greg Nemisz's power-play goal at 12:05 of the second period stood up as the game-winner, and Leland Irving made 22 saves as the Heat won their season-opener for the second straight year.

    Abbotsford rode a stellar special-teams performance on Friday, going 2-for-5 on the power play while killing off all three Monsters man-advantage opportunities.

    "I thought we played a complete game," Ward said. "We worked hard – which was our biggest concern – and our system play got better as the game wore on."

    Dustin Sylvester, who signed with the Heat last month after leading Freiburg of the German second division in scoring last season, opened the scoring on a power play just over five minutes into the first period. Monsters goalie Trevor Cann stopped an initial shot from Heat captain Quintin Laing, but Sylvester was there to chip in the rebound.

    Greg Mauldin drew the Monsters even at the 10:50 mark of the opening frame, as Stefan Elliott's point shot deflected off him and past Irving.

    Just past the midway point of the second period, Nemisz tracked down a loose puck amongst a maze of legs in front of the Lake Erie net and flicked a shot by Cann, who had lost track of the biscuit.

    Irving took it home from there, and his teammates played a solid game in front of him, coming up with two pivotal penalty kills in the final frame.


    ICE CHIPS:

    • The Heat and Monsters renew hostilities on Saturday at 3 p.m. Pacific time. The Heat then return home for their home opener, Friday, Oct. 14 against the Rockford IceHogs.

    • Forwards Carter Bancks and Krys Kolanos were scratched due to injury for the Heat, while healthy scratches included centre Mitch Wahl, defencemen John Negrin, James Martin and Patrick Cullity, and goalie Joni Ortio. Ward went with David Brown as the backup goalie behind Irving.
    I'm interested to see how Negrin and Nemisz do this year. Also, it would be nice to see Irving become good and push for a role on the big club.

  13. #28
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    http://www.abbotsfordtimes.com/sport...889/story.html

    Abbotsford Heat the team to beat?

    Never before in the three-year history of the Abbotsford Heat franchise have the on-ice expectations been so high heading into the home opener.

    The Heat are coming off impressive back-to-back wins against the Lake Erie Monsters on the road last weekend in Cleveland to open the American Hockey League season, and appear relaxed and ready for Friday's tilt against the Rockford IceHogs at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

    "We're very happy with the first weekend, it's always great to start off on the right foot," said Heat forward Jon Rheault after Tuesday's practice.

    Despite the fact the Heat scored just three times in two games last weekend - they won by scores of 2-1 and 1-0, with all three tallies coming on the power play - word around the AHL early in the season is this year's squad might be the team to beat.

    "If you talk to people around the American Hockey League, that team is as good as there is in the league," Monsters coach David Quinn told The Plain Dealer, Ohio's largest daily newspaper, after Saturday's 1-0 Heat win.

    Despite the sweep, there is little satisfaction, especially so early in the season.

    "You can definitely tell when we got to the rink [Tuesday] after a day off, coach [Troy Ward] wasn't happy with just that, he pushed us for more," said Rheault. "He said three goals in two games is not going win you many games, which is true so we need to get our offence going a bit. But again, you can't get a better start than that. I think the whole team will attest to the fact that we played a very fun style of play."

    That's a ringing endorsement for hometown fans compared to this time a year ago when the Heat were young and inexperienced, and relied heavily on goaltender Leland Irving, tight checking and throwing pucks on the opposition's net from every conceivable spot on the ice with little chance for success.

    The goals may not have been there in the two outings, but the chances - both quantity and quality - were.

    The key now for the Heat is to take whatever momentum they forged and apply it Friday against the IceHogs, who also boasts a record 2-0-0-0.

    If the first two games were an indication, the Heat won't rest on their laurels like in previous years.

    "We're not going to be a team that just sits back, protects leads. We want to get a lead and make it bigger," said Quintin Laing.

    Having yet to win a home opener in the Heat's brief existence, there is pressure for this team to make history.

    "You don't necessarily look back at that," said Rheault. "We're all excited for the home opener. When we put a good product out there this year that will build the fan base even more and this is a very fun place to play when we can fill it."


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