Brian Connelly’s OT goal on March 30th sent a capacity crowd into pandemonium at the AESC, and happened to be the strike that kicked off a franchise record 10 straight wins
A lot has to go ‘right’ for your squad to win 10 straight games. Here’s a look at some of the numbers that the Heat have posted over the final seven regular season games and three post-season match-ups.
HOT STREAK BY THE NUMBERS – (10-0-0-0), 44 GF, 19 GA, PP:8/46 (17.4%), PK: 31/41 (75.6%)
SCORING AND SPECIAL TEAMS
The Heat are scoring a lot more over their past ten games. Over the streak Abbotsford has tucked 44 pucks into the net (4.4 GF), and have been tight defensively allowing just 19 goals against (1.9 GA… don’t you love dividing by tens?) which is an especially healthy margin given the strength of schedule they faced [CHI, RCH x2, CHA x2, TOR x2, MIL x3]. Prior to the run the first 69 games of the season saw the Heat score 2.64 per contest.
Even more impressive though, is the club’s play five-on-five as they’ve actually been bested on special teams over the run, having scored eight PPG on 46 attempts (17.4%), but surrendered 10 power play goal to the enemy on just 41 attempts (24.4%).
Removing the power play scoring on a per game basis and the Heat are allowing less than one goal against per contest at even strength, while putting up better than three and a half goals of their own when man power is even-up. Tough to imagine they could be better, but special teams analysis indicates just that. It’s five-on-five play that appears to be driving the winning streak, not a hot man-advantage.
Other factors on the run include a full and close to healthy roster. Only Ryan Howse and hardly unpacked, then injured – Tyler Ruegsegger have been absent for the majority of the run, with Howse getting nicked in the Chicago OT win that started the run. Quintin Laing has also missed two playoff games (he remains day-to-day), but recall December and January when healthy bodies were few and far between. Timing in life, as they say, is everything.
DEPTH & ACES
The ‘Black Aces’ have added to a team already at its deepest in the Spring. Max Reinhart and David Eddy have looked the part in differing roles at the forward position and complement an original core that was boosted by the mid-season acquistions of Hugh Jessiman, Akim Aliu, Danny Taylor, Adam Estoclet, JP Testwuide, Nick Tuzzolino, and Brett Carson. Also seeing game action were ‘Aces’ Turner Elson & Brady Lamb.
The Heat have been clutch in extra time over run as Brian Connelly, Ben Walter, and Nick Tuzzolino each buried an O.T. GWG. The clutch scoring of the team over the run has been immensely impressive. Every time they NEED a goal they seemingly pop one.
Goaltending duties have seen Danny Taylor carrying the bulk of the load as Leland Irving became a father, and missed time with the team. Taylor has allowed just 12 goals over his 8 starts and has two shutouts over the run. Irving has two wins with seven goals against over the pair. No question Taylor has the hot hand, he’s won eight in a row!
10-0-0-0 is pretty impressive, as the club moves onto the second round, we’ll see if the streak can be stretched beyond 10. Facing one of the top two seeded teams (OKC & TOR) in the Western Conference will provide a tantalizing match-up over a best-of-seven. By Friday we’ll know if it’s the Marlies or the Barons trying to snap the streak.