Credit: Nathan Kerley/Peoria Rivermen
1. VISITORS VISUALLY FLAT: In a reversal of the Heat’s New Year’s Eve visit to Peoria, the Heat were bested by a club that out-chanced, out-hit, and out-worked the visitors. It was a 2-1 shootout loss on December 31st for the Heat in a game they were the better club. Tonight the home team won the battles in the trenches, came out ahead in the special teams, and pushed the play more than the visitors. Hey, 76 games, even the best teams in the league will lose 25 times. As the Tragically Hip said: “It can’t be Nashville every night”.
2. DANNY DESERVED BETTER: Heat goalie Danny Taylor suffered his eighth regulation loss of the season, but didn’t have much of a chance on any of the three goals that beat him. The first two Rivermen goals were firm passes out of the corner that were tipped in past the recently assigned puck-stopper, while the third shot was a redirected point shot just six seconds into the lone Heat penalty kill. Taylor watched the fourth Peoria goal go in from the bench as he was pulled for an extra attacker in the final two minutes.
3. REGROUP, RELOAD: No time to dwell on this loss that left more to be desired. Abbotsford is right back into battle tomorrow night in Rockford, a building they lost in in their final game prior to Christmas break, despite a third period lead. The Heat remain in top spot in the North Division and got some help on the out of town scoreboard with Rochester and Lake Erie losses. There are many worse positions to be in.