ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Roman Horak had a hat trick to lead the Abbotsford Heat to a 4-2 win over the Toronto Marlies in American Hockey League action Friday night.
Horak scored three times in a span of six minutes 32 seconds, giving him 10 goals in nine games this season. It was the first professional hat trick for Horak, who played 61 games for the Calgary Flames last season.
“He’s on fire, that’s for sure,” said Abbotsford head coach Troy Ward. “I’m just real excited for the kid. He’s well-prepared to play every game.”
Horak was promoted to the top line along side Baertschi and Walter and it worked.
“I’ve said it many times that I’ve been lucky,” said Horak. “Obviously the goals come easier when you play with guys like Ben and Sven. It’s a pleasure to play with them.”
Leland Irving stopped 25 shots in the win, just his second start of the season.
Mark Owuya made 15 saves for Toronto. He made his first start of the season after playing 19 games with the Marlies last season. The 23-year-old Swede has been sharing the crease with Ben Scrivens and Jussi Rynnas.
The Marlies opened the scoring just 2:31 into the first period. Ranger centred the puck to Abbott in the slot, and though Irving stopped Abbott's initial shot and Greg McKegg's attempt at the rebound went off the post, the puck came right back to Abbott who buried it for his first of the season.
The Heat tied the game on the power play with 2.4 seconds to go in the first. Steve McCarthy's point shot was deflected by Horak with Laing drawing the second assist.
“It completely swung the momentum,” Irving said of Horak's equalizer. “In the second period our guys really got going, drawing some penalties and getting some opportunities that way
Horak gave his club the lead just 63 seconds into the second period. Baerschi’s point shot made its way to the front of the net where Ben Walter took a swipe at it before Horak buried it.
The Czech winger completed the natural hat trick at 6:29. Walter tried to jam the puck home but as he was knocked off the puck, which moved back to Horak who wristed it over an off-balance Owuya, giving him 10 goals on the year.
The Marlies got one back short handed at 9:51. Jerry D'Amigo led a two-on-one and got a shot off before being driven into the corner. Ranger swooped in and roofed the rebound for his first of the season to make it 3-2.
Irving was less than spectacular in the beginning of the game but made a few clutch stops as the contest went on, including a breakaway stop on Joe Colborne with five minutes to go in the second and a big stop on a short-handed three-on-two seven minutes into the third.
The Heat got some breathing room when they scored on the tail end of an extended five-on-three power play. Joe Callahan's point shot deflected off Laing and in for the captain's first goal of the season.
NOTES: Abbotsford’s penalty kill has now killed 39 of its 40 opportunities this season.