ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Krys Kolanos has had a tough go of it this season but Saturday he showed he still has his offensive flare.
Abbotsford's all-time leading goal scorer had the decisive shootout goal and scored in regulation to lift the Heat over the Texas Stars 2-1 in American Hockey League action.
Kolanos broke a 2-2 deadlock in the shootout on the final attempt, sliding the puck around the pad of goalie Jack Campbell.
"I just think it was important that a couple guys got goals early in the shootout," said Kolanos. "I like being in that position, being able to finish it off. I asked to go number five and it worked out tonight."
Kolanos has played just 14-of-26 games for Abbotsford (15-5-6), missing most of those due to nagging injuries. He entered Saturday with just four goals in 13 games after leading the team with 30 goals last season, the third time he reached that mark in his career.
"Krys' game last night (a 3-1 loss to Texas) and tonight showed some things better than they have been so far this year," said Heat head coach Troy Ward. "And just to see him play two healthy games, he hasn't been able to do that yet. Good things are happening there, but it's been slow."
Barry Brust, who made 39 saves in the win, liked what he saw on the winning goal.
"You don't want to face (Kolanos) as a goalie . . . I don't think he got everything he wanted on his goal in the shootout, but he's so good offensively," said Brust. "When it's him and the goalie, it's pretty special to watch."
Brust's league-leading goals-against average dropped to a paltry 1.17.
"(Brust) is on his game right now," said Kolanos. "He was just consistent throughout the whole game. That gives the group in front of him, all of us, confidence to go out and try a little more and try more things and be more aggressive. It's great to have a goalie that's on his game back there. It starts from there and works its way up the team."
After stopping all 16 pucks Texas (13-8-4) threw at him in the first period, the Stars finally got one by Brust at 5:13 of the second while on a two-man power play. Jordie Benn teed up Matt Fraser for a one-timer from the point, giving him 10 goals on the season.
The Heat replied with a power-play goal of their own three minutes later. Ben Street found Kolanos at the side of the net with a perfect cross-ice pass, leaving the Calgary native with an open net to score on. The set up was by design.
"We felt we could get Krys open on the weak side if we postured it different with Street on the strong side," said Ward.
"I've got to give (Street) all the credit on that great play," said Kolanos. "We've been talking about those seams, trying to pick them apart that way coming into the series. It was good that it kind of worked out the way we planned it to."
Brust's best save was about a minute into the overtime period when he got a piece of Jamie Oleksiak's shot from the slot with this glove, keeping the Heat alive.
"The team plays with an awful lot of confidence when he's back there," said Street. "His record (8-1-1) is a big statement for him. There's a bit more swagger when he's in net, it feels like. He's a pretty confident guy. It's certainly nice to have him back there."
Campbell finished with 25 saves on the night.