ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat were defeated 3-2 by the Utica Comets (AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks) on Friday night at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC). The Heat are now 17-6-0-1 on the season and currently sit first in the American Hockey League (AHL) with 35 points. The Heat and Comets will play again Saturday night at 8:00 PM MST at the AESC.
The Heat outshot the Comets 37-17 but Joe Cannata had a strong game, earning first star honours in the Comets’ victory. Michael Ferland had a strong game for the Heat, notching a goal, 6 shots, and winning a fight with a one punch knockdown against Utica’s Kent Huskins.
Despite Abbotsford carrying much of the play in the first period, Comets forward Cal O’Reilly opened the scoring on an unlucky bounce for the Heat at 12:54 of the first period. Joni Ortio stopped six of seven shots in the first while Utica’s Joe Cannata stopped all 16 shots he faced.
Pascal Pelletier stretched the Comets’ lead to 2-0 at 7:36 of the second period. The Heat outshot the Comets 24-15 through two periods, but trailed 2-0.
Yannick Weber, recently assigned to the Comets by the Vancouver Canucks, scored on a power play at 3:15 of the third to give the Comets a 3-0 lead. The Heat started their comeback effort at 14:13 of the third period with a power play goal by Ferland, assisted by Kane Lafranchise. Greg Nemisz pulled the Heat to within one with an unassisted goal just 44 seconds later on another Heat power play. However, with Ortio pulled for the extra attacker, the Heat took two penalties in the final minute and the game ended 3-2 for the Comets.
Abbotsford was two for five with the man advantage, and killed off one of two Utica power plays.
Ortio made 14 saves on 17 shots for Abbotsford and was credited with his first loss of the season. Utica’s Cannata made 35 saves on 37 shots.
The Heat and Comets will play again tomorrow, Saturday November 30th at the AESC. One lucky fan will have the chance to win $5000 in the Honda Way Shootout, courtesy of The Honda Way Abbotsford. Fans are encouraged to purchase the Comets package, including a pair of tickets to each Saturday game against the Comets this season. The Comets package starts at $81, call 1-877-452-HEAT (4238) to purchase yours today or visit us online at www.abbotsfordheat.com.