ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat will look to even their best-of-seven with the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs) at two games apiece on Tuesday after a 4-1 loss in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Heat killed all six penalties they were assessed in the contest, but struggled to get pucks to the Marlies net in their second straight loss, which leaves Toronto leading the series two games to one.
The Marlies would open the scoring less than a minute into the game on a wrap-around on the first shot faced by Leland Irving. At 11:58 of the first period, the visitors scored again off a turnover in the neutral zone and the Heat were down by a pair.
Rookie Dustin Sylvester would draw the Heat within one at 2:21 of the second period with his third of the post-season coming off a redirection in the slot. The Kelowna product tipped in a slap-shot from Clay Wilson; Brian Connelly also drew an assist on the goal.
After getting the game within a goal, the Heat strung together consecutive shifts of pressure in the Toronto zone, but saw the first Marlies rush create their third goal of the game, reclaiming a two-goal edge at 12:30 of the middle period.
The third period saw the Heat kill off six minutes of penalties, but allow a fourth even strength goal against at 14:46, which would cap the scoring in Game 3.
Leland Irving made his first start since April 15th when he beat the Marlies in the regular season finale, and stopped 22 of 26 shots in the loss. The Heat were outshot 26-21 in their second straight loss that has come on the heels of an 11-game winning streak.
The Heat power play finished without a goal on four opportunities, while the penalty kill erased all six man-advantages for the Marlies in the game. All five goals in Game 3 were scored at even strength.
Game 4 & 5 will be played at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday with both games starting at 7:00 PDT. Tickets are available online at AbbotsfordHeat.com and by phone at 1 (877) 452-HEAT.
You can catch the broadcast of Game 4 & 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.