ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat beat the Toronto Marlies (AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs) 3-1 for their record setting 23rd win at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC) in their final home game of the season.
Mark Cundari recorded assists on all three Heat goals and engaged in a fight to earn first star honours in the Heat’s third straight win. Krys Kolanos extended his point streak to six games with an assist on Carter Rowney’s first professional goal. Barry Brust relieved an injured Danny Taylor in the second period and earned his 13th win of the season.
After a scoreless opening period, the Marlies struck first at 14:31 of the second period. Just 11 seconds after the Toronto goal, Rowney scored his first professional goal to tie the game at one. Rowney, playing his second game with the Heat on an ATO, was set up by Kolanos and Cundari.
Tyler Ruegsegger put the Heat ahead 2-1 with his 11th goal of the season at 10:35 of the third period. Ruegsegger’s team leading fifth game-winning goal of the season was set up by Cundari for his second assist of the night.
The Marlies pulled their goalie for an extra attacker late, but Heat Captain Quintin Laing scored into an empty net to seal the win. Cundari and Greg Nemisz drew assists on the short-handed empty net goal.
Taylor started for the eighth time in the Heat’s last nine games, making 11 saves on 11 shots before leaving the game with an injury at the 7:43 mark of the second period. Brust made 21 saves on 22 shots to earn the win. The Heat were outshot by the Marlies 33-29, but earned their sixth win in the eight-game season series.
The Heat did not score on on four power plays while the penalty kill neutralized all six Toronto man advantages.
The Heat’s annual team award winners were announced prior to puck drop. Ben Walter was presented with the Team MVP and the Fan Favorite Awards, TJ Brodie won Top Defenceman, Sven Baertschi was named Top Rookie, and Zach McKelvie earned Community Man of the Year for his work off the ice. Following the game the Heat booster club – ‘Heat Generation’ – named Danny Taylor the winner of their inaugural Booster Club Award.
Also on Sunday, Hockey Hall of Fame member Johnny Bower congratulated Brust on his AHL record for consecutive shutout minutes via video message. Brust bested Bower’s 1957 mark of 249 minutes and 51 seconds without a goal against on November 24th 2012, extending the record to 268 minutes and 17 seconds.
The Heat will close out the 2012-13 regular season on Friday and Saturday in Oklahoma City against the Barons (AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers); puck drops at 5:00 PM PDT on both nights.