ON THE LINE:
Entering Friday’s match against the Houston Aeros, the Abbotsford Heat hoped to break out of a seven game winless drought. Only three points separated third place from eighth place in the conference, so staying in the thick of the playoff race was of utmost importance for the Heat going into their weekend home set.
The Heat grew taller this week with the acquisition of Mike Testwuide and their physicality grew on the ice as a result. Both teams came out aggressively and threw their weight around. On his first shift in Heat silks, Testwuide levelled two Aeros players and sent sticks and gloves flying.
Not overshadowed by the physicality was the Heat’s revived (and timely) power play. They converted on two of their six chances tonight after having not scored in their previous 27 chances on the man advantage.
THE TURNING POINT:
Early in the third period the Aeros got into some penalty trouble as they took three minor penalties in a span of four minutes. Fortunately, Ben Walter capitalized on two of those man advantages to take the lead and secure the win.
First Star: Ben Walter – With two power play goals, including the game tying goal and the game winner, he led the team to their first victory in eight games.
Second Star: Leland Irving – The Abbotsford net-minder hadn’t won a game in a Heat uniform since November 16. Tonight’s victory was won in style as he thwarted 29 of the Aeros’ 31 shots.
Third Star: Roman Horak – He collected an assist on Walter’s game tying and game winning goals and was a threat in offensive zone all evening.
STAT OF THE GAME:
Heat record in back-to-back home sets before heading out onto the road: 9-2-1-1
“It was the best part of the game to be honest with you. I thought the whole introduction, her singing the national anthems – that family certainly outplayed our performance. That was the highlight of the night and it should be. It stands for all the right reasons in life.”
- Troy Ward on Pink on the Rink
The Heat will face off against the Houston Aeros again tomorrow night at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre. They’ll look to keep the hot power play alive against the Minnesota Wild’s young guns.