TORONTO, ON -- The Abbotsford Heat will look for their seventh straight home win on Saturday when they host Game 3, after a 5-1 loss to the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs) in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals that saws off the best-of-seven series at a game apiece.
The Heat scored the first goal of the game but the Marlies scored five unanswered goals and got strong goaltending in a penalty-filled game in front of 6,244 at Ricoh Coliseum. The loss was the Heat’s first since March 24th and snaps an 11-game winning streak – seven in the regular season and four in the playoffs – that stands as a franchise record.
Jon Rheault scored 10:03 into the game to put the Heat ahead as he banged in a loose puck at the right side of the Marlies net. Ben Walter started the play by curling around the net and shooting; his shot was stopped, as was the rebound chance for Roman Horak, but Rheault found his third of the post season on the third Heat chance in tight.
The Marlies would equalize on the power play at 15:15 of the first period, which would kick off a scoring spree for the home team. In the final minute of the first period, the Marlies would take their first lead of the series, on a rush down the left, and in the first four minutes of the second period the home team would add two more. Over a span of 8:41 from late in the first period to early in the second, the Marlies scored four goals, and didn’t look back.
At 11:30 of the third period, the Marlies would add their final goal when the Heat elected to pull Danny Taylor for an extra attacker on a power play, but couldn’t get him back on the ice before the Marlies scored an even strength marker into the vacated net.
A penalty-filled third period saw three misconducts, one major penalty, and eight minors assessed. A Kneeing Major was called on the Marlies that came with a Game Misconduct at 6:18, and was followed by a whistle filled final period of the opening leg of the series in Toronto.
Danny Taylor made 24 saves on 28 shots in the game to suffer his first loss in ten appearances. Taylor’s last loss came on March 17th in a shutout shootout in Houston that saw the Heat fall 1-0. The Heat would outshoot the Marlies 38-29 in Game 2.
The Heat power play finished without a goal on nine opportunities, while the Marlies would convert on one of six. Three times the Heat had two-man advantages in the loss.
Game 3, 4 & 5 will be played at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre on Saturday the 5th, Tuesday the 8th and Wednesday the 9th of May with all games starting at 7:00 PDT.
You can catch the broadcast of Game 3 live on Country 107.1 beginning with the 6:30 pre-game show. The broadcast is also available on Country 107.1’s website, theAHL.com and on the Rogers Radio App for your wireless device.
Game 3 will also be broadcasted on SiriusXM Satellite Radio on NHL Home Ice beginning at 7:00 PDT as part of an AHL double-header. Tune your satellite radio to Sirius 207 or XM 92 to hear Saturday’s third match of the Western Conference Semifinals.