TORONTO, ON -- The Abbotsford Heat defeated the Toronto Marlies (AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs) 4-2 in their second of three games, in three days, against divisional rivals.
Akim Aliu and Carter Bancks recorded two-point nights, and Danny Taylor won his first start since being reassigned by the Calgary Flames. The Heat have beaten the Marlies four times in five opportunities this season. The win moves the Heat to within two points of the division lead, and back into a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Marlies opened the scoring at 10:25 of the first period with Greg Scott netting a loose puck in the crease, while at even strength.
Tyler Ruegsegger tied the game at 13:29 with his seventh goal of the season. Ben Walter and Joe Callahan drew assists on the goal that left the game tied 1-1 after 20 minutes of play.
The Heat scored twice in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Blair Jones’ first of the season was scored at 7:05 on a four-on-three man advantage. Aliu then one-timed a pass from Bancks into the Toronto net for his second goal of the season at 12:15. The Heat led 3-1 at the second intermission.
Bancks put the Heat up 4-1 at 1:51 of the third period, as he redirected an Aliu shot through the legs of Drew MacIntyre. Aliu and Bancks finished the night with a goal and an assist each and were named the first and second stars of the game, respectively.
The Marlies scored in the final minute of the game, but still went on to suffer their eighth regulation loss on home ice, and second at the hands of the Heat. Abbotsford ended an eight-game road winless skid with the season’s ninth road victory.
Taylor made 16 saves on 18 shots in his first start since being reassigned to the Heat by the Calgary Flames. The Heat outshot the Marlies 23-18, allowing just ten shots against in the opening 40 minutes.
The Heat scored once on five power play opportunities, while the penalty kill erased all three Toronto man advantages.
The Heat return to Rochester Sunday, where their three-in-three set began on Friday. The puck will drop at 2:05 PM PST for the Heat’s eighth and final game against the Americans this season.