GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- The Abbotsford Heat lost 5-1 to the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings) at the Van Andel Arena on Friday night.
Petr Mrazek held a shutout bid into the final five minutes of the game, and Riley Sheahan scored twice as the Heat fell to the Griffins for the first time in three years in Grand Rapids.
The Griffins scored first on a three-on-two rush at 14:09 of the second period. Joakim Andersson’s eighth goal of the season was set-up by Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, giving the home team a 1-0 lead.
At 18:16 of the second period the Griffins went ahead 2-0 on Sheahan’s fifth goal of his rookie season. Francis Pare and Tomas Jurco drew assists on the goal. The Griffins took a two goal lead into the second intermission.
Danny Taylor replaced starter Barry Brust in goal for the Heat at the beginning of the third period. Francis Pare scored on the Griffins' first power play of the third. Pare’s eleventh goal of the season was assisted by Landon Ferraro and Adam Almquist. Sheahan scored his second goal of the night at 16:04 of the third period, putting the Griffins ahead 4-0.
Nick Tuzzolino broke Mrazek’s shutout bid at 16:48 with his first goal of the season in just his second game with the Heat since being recalled from Utah (ECHL). Paul Byron and Krys Kolanos drew assists on the lone Heat goal.
The Griffins scored a late empty net goal to secure their first victory on home ice against the Heat since October of 2009.
Brust made his eleventh start of the season and stopped 14 of 16 shots through 40 minutes. Mrazek made 29 saves to earn the win. The Heat outshot the Griffins 30-27 in the game.
The Heat lost the special teams battle with the Griffins who scored twice on six power play opportunities. The Heat failed to score on their two man-advantages.
The Heat play their final pre-holiday game tomorrow night at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford at 5:05 PM PST. Watch the Heat resume play after Christmas against the Chicago Wolves (AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks) on December 29th at 5:00 PM PST on Sportsnet One.
The Heat return home to play the Rochester Americans (AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres) on January 4th and 5th, and will play eight straight home games in January, including games against the Chicago Wolves on January 11th and 12th.