ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat defeated the Rockford IceHogs (AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks) 4-3 in overtime on Saturday night at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre (AESC).
Sven Baertschi scored one goal and set up Roman Horak’s overtime winner, as the Heat split a weekend set with the IceHogs in Abbotsford. Abbotsford took a 3-2 lead deep into the third period, but Rockford forced overtime scoring a goal with less than ten seconds remaining.
After a scoreless first period, Ben Walter opened the scoring 11:49 into the second with his 13th goal of the season. Ben Street drove hard down the right wing after receiving a pass from Krys Kolanos. Street’s shot was stopped, but Walter netted the rebound for his fourth point in as many games against Rockford.
Tyler Ruegsegger gave the Heat a two goal lead at 18:22 of the second period, converting a Rockford turnover from the slot for his eighth goal of the season. The Heat led 2-0 after 40 minutes.
Rockford scored twice in the first eight minutes of the third period to tie the game, but Baertschi’s 8th goal of the season put the home team ahead with 4:25 remaining in regulation.
The IceHogs went on power play with 65 seconds remaining in regulation and pulled their goalie in search of a game-tying goal. Rostislav Olesz’s goal forced overtime for Chicago with just 9.4 seconds left.
In overtime Baertschi stole a Rockford pass at the Heat blue line and rushed into the Rockford zone, two-on-one with Horak. Baertschi passed to Horak, who ended the game with his team-leading 15th goal of the season. In his 33rd appearance of the season, Danny Taylor made 39 saves on 42 shots in the win. Taylor was named first star of the game. Abbotsford was outshot by the IceHogs 42-24 in the game.
The Heat did not score on their lone power play opportunity, while the penalty kill erased two of the four Rockford man advantages.
The Heat will travel to Ontario on Monday for a three-game divisional road trip. Abbotsford faces the Hamilton Bulldogs on Wednesday and Friday at Copps Coliseum, before a Saturday matinee against the Toronto Marlies.