ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat lost 5-2 to the Rochester Americans (AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres) on Friday night, despite heavily outshooting the visitors in the first of a two game series at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre (AESC).
The Heat outshot the Americans 50-30 in their first home game in twenty days, but David Leggio made 48 saves to earn the win and first star honours.
Outshooting their opponents by a 16-7 margin, and with Quintin Laing and Ben Walter each hitting the post, the Heat went to the first intermission tied in a scoreless game.
The Americans scored twice in the second period to take a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes of play. The puck deflected off Brian Flynn into the Heat net on the power play to open the scoring at 2:41. Rookie Zegmus Girgensons made it 2-0 at 7:02 of the period with his third goal of the season.
Max Reinhart cut the Rochester lead to 2-1 at 2:59 of the third period with his third goal of the season. Reinhart converted a short-handed breakaway set up by Paul Byron, who drew an assist on the play.
Just 33 seconds later, Nick Crawford scored Rochester’s second power play goal of the night.
After a fourth Rochester goal, Walter drew the Heat to within two on his fifth of the season, at 10:23 of the third period. The goal was set up by TJ Brodie and Sven Baertschi. Baertschi finished the night with an assist in his first game since suffering an injury on November 30th.
An unassisted empty net goal from Rochester’s Mark Mancari completed the scoring for Mancari’s third point of the night.
Barry Brust made his third consecutive start, stopping 26 of 30 shots. It was the first time Brust allowed more than three goals this season.
The Heat power play finished without a goal on five opportunities. Abbotsford’s penalty kill created a short-handed goal, but surrendered two Rochester goals on three opportunities.
The Heat and Americans face off again tomorrow at the AESC at 7:00 PM PST. Abbotsford plays seven more home games in January, including twice next weekend against the Chicago Wolves (AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks).