ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat lost to the Iowa Wild 4-2 on Thursday night at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC). Despite the loss, the Heat are five points clear of the Manchester Monarchs for first place in the AHL with a record of 20-7-1-1 and 42 points.
Markus Granlund continued his torrid pace, extending his AHL-leading point streak to 11 games with a goal. Heat defenceman Derek Smith also had a strong showing in his third game in Abbotsford, with one goal and five shots on net. Kris Foucault and Erik Haula each scored twice in the Iowa victory.
Iowa opened the scoring just 1:29 into the first period, as Foucault scored his third goal of the season. However, Granlund evened the game by scoring his 12th of the year on the power play at 3:41 from Corban Knight and Chad Billins. Granlund’s goal made it 10 consecutive games in which the Heat have scored a power play goal. Smith, recently assigned from the Calgary Flames, scored to give the Heat a 2-1 lead at 5:49. Smith’s goal was assisted by Max Reinhart and Josh Jooris.
Haula scored twice in the second period, at 6:03 and 19:24, to give the Wild a 3-2 lead through 40 minutes. Joey MacDonald made 20 saves on 23 shots and Johan Gustafsson stopped 19 of 21 shots for Iowa through two periods.
Foucault provided the only scoring of the third period, giving the Wild some insurance at 16:58.
The Heat went one out of five on the power play and killed off the only Iowa man advantage.
MacDonald was charged with the Abbotsford loss, making 30 saves on 34 shots. Gustafsson earned the win by stopping 28 of 30 Abbotsford shots.
The Heat will now head out on a three game road trip leading up to the Christmas break, with two games against the Utica Comets (AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks) and one against the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens). The Heat will return home for a post-Christmas series with the Oklahoma City Barons (AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers) on Friday December 27th and Saturday December 28th at the AESC (7:00 PM PT).
For tickets please call 1-877-452-HEAT (4328) or visit us online at www.abbotsfordheat.com.