ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat beat the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens) 3-1 to open a midweek two-game series at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC).
Mike Matczak recorded both the first AHL goal and assist of his career, Danny Taylor earned his eighth win of the season, and the Heat ended a two-game skid on home ice with the victory. The Heat jumped from eighth to fifth place in the Western Conference and are now four points behind the North Division-leading Toronto Marlies.
Ben Walter gave the Heat a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes with his power play goal at 19:27. Walter’s seventh of the season and third goal on the man-advantage was assisted by Krys Kolanos and Matczak.
The Bulldogs tied the game on their second power play of the night when Tyler Murovich scored at 10:44 of the second period.
After a fight between Zach McKelvie and Kyle Hagel on the faceoff following the goal, the Heat regained the lead just 12 seconds after the Bulldogs scored. Tyler Ruegsegger’s third of the season was assisted by Quintin Laing and stood as the winner at 10:56 of the second period.
Matczak gave the Heat a two-goal lead with his first career AHL goal at 5:54 of the third period. Matczak was named the first star of the game and now has two points in two games since being called up by the Heat.
Taylor made 14 saves on 15 shots to earn the win. He has allowed just five goals in his last five appearances, earning a record of 3-1-0. The Heat outshot the Bulldogs 36-15 and have held their opponent to just 15 shots on net in each of the last two games.
The Heat and Bulldogs each finished with a power play goal on three opportunities. The Heat have the league’s sixth-best power play on home ice, operating at 26.1% at the AESC.
Abbotsford has three games remaining in their eight-game home stand. Tomorrow night Abbotsford hosts the Hamilton Bulldogs in the teams’ final meeting of the season at the AESC.
The Milwaukee Admirals visit the AESC this Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. At the conclusion of Sunday’s “Faith Night” game the Heat will host a post-game get together with team members Walter, Ruegsegger, McKelvie, and President Ryan Walter.