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Heat rally for shootout win over Monsters

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Abbotsford Heat defeated the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche) 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday night at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC) to hold on to top spot in the AHL’s North Division.

Dustin Sylvester scored twice on assists from Krys Kolanos, and Barry Brust earned his tenth win of the season as the Heat rallied to beat the Monsters. Down 3-1 midway through the game, the Heat scored in the final minute of the second period to bring the game within one and again with just 51 seconds remaining in the third period to force overtime. Abbotsford killed a penalty in overtime and got goals from three of four shooters in the shootout to earn their AHL-leading 17th home win.

Lake Erie opened the scoring at 6:34 of the first period on Gary Steffes’ first AHL goal. Dustin Sylvester tied the game 1-1 at 14:49 of the first period, as he finished off a two-on-one rush with Paul Byron to record his tenth goal of the season. Kolanos also earned an assist, his 13th of the season.

The Monsters scored a pair of even strength goals in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Brett Olson scored to draw the Heat to within one with just 55.4 seconds remaining in the period. Joe Piskula and Carter Bancks drew assists on the play. The Monsters led 3-2 after 40 minutes.

With Brust pulled for an extra attacker, Sylvester deflected Max Reinhart’s shot to tie the game at 3-3 with just 51 seconds remaining in regulation. Kolanos recorded his second assist of the game on the play.

In overtime, the Heat killed a Monsters power play to force the shootout. Roman Horak, Kolanos and Reinhart all scored through four rounds. Brust stopped all three shooters he faced to give the Heat their fourth win in eight shootouts this season.

Brust made his second consecutive start for the first time since January 4th and made 29 saves on 32 shots to earn the win. The Monsters outshot the Heat 32-20 in the game.

Neither team scored a special teams goal in the game with each penalty kill finishing the night four-for-four. The Heat penalty kill is ranked number one in the AHL at 89.7%.

Abbotsford will face the Monsters tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 PM PST, the second Sunday afternoon game at the AESC and the final of eight games against Lake Erie this season. The Heat have earned 11 of a possible 14 points against the Monsters.

On Monday the Heat will depart on a 12-day Midwest road trip featuring two games in Milwaukee and single stops in Peoria, Rockford and Chicago. The Heat return home to face the Charlotte Checkers on February 22nd and 23rd to close out a spell of 14 games over 24 days – their busiest stretch of the season.

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