ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat will need three straight wins if they are to beat the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs) in the Western Conference Semifinals after a 3-1 loss in Game 4. Tomorrow’s Game 5 will be the first elimination game faced by the Heat this season as they find themselves down 3-1 in the series despite outshooting the Marlies 36-17 in the Game 4 loss.
The Heat had a one-goal lead after 40 minutes, but an even-strength, short-handed and empty-net goal in the third frame saw the Marlies earn a third straight win in the series.
Hugh Jessiman and Ben Walter combined for the lone goal in the opening 40 minutes of the game as Walter stole a puck on the left wall and threw it at the Marlies crease, where Jessiman redirected it into the net. The goal came at 9:29 of the second period and was Jessiman’s second of the postseason.
The Marlies would win the game with an opportunistic third period, scoring at 2:37 on a rush down the right, taking the lead at 7:11 on a shorthanded breakaway, and icing the win with an empty-net strike with just 29 seconds remaining.
The Heat held a wide edge on the shot-clock throughout the game, leading 10-3 after 20 minutes, 23-10 after two periods of play, and finished the game holding a 36-17 margin, but it wasn’t enough to earn their second win of the series.
Danny Taylor returned to the Heat nets for his sixth start in seven postseason games and stopped all but two of the 16 shots he faced in the loss.
The Marlies have allowed just five goals in the series and have been perfect on their penalty kill. The Heat couldn’t score on five man-advantages on the night, while allowing a short-handed goal against. The Marlies failed to score on two opportunities. The Heat have had 21 power plays in the series, while the Marlies have scored once on 16 power plays.
Game 5 is tomorrow at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre starting at 7:00 PDT. Tickets are available on AbbotsfordHeat.com and by phone at 1 (877) 452-HEAT. You can catch the broadcast of Game 5 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.