SAN ANTONIO, TX -- The Abbotsford Heat rallied late to tie the game and beat the San Antonio Rampage (AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers) 5-4 in a shootout on Sunday afternoon in the teams’ final meeting of the season.
Sven Baertschi posted one goal and two assists, the Heat tied the game with less than ten seconds remaining in regulation, and they won their sixth shootout of the season with goals from Blair Jones and Ben Walter. Max Reinhart, Ben Walter and Krys Kolanos each had two-point games. The win moves the Heat into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Baertschi put the Heat up 1-0 at the 8:20 mark of the first period with his seventh goal of the season. Kolanos passed the puck to the slot where it bounced off Walter and was chopped in by Baertschi for his first goal since being assigned to the Heat by the Calgary Flames.
Brett Carson extended the lead Heat lead to 2-0 with a power play point shot at 16:53 of the first period. Walter and Baertschi each earned their second points of the game setting up Carson’s sixth goal of the season.
The Rampage drew within one at the 40-second mark of the second period when Jack Combs scored his first of two goals while the teams were at even strength. Abbotsford led the contest 2-1 through 40 minutes of play.
The Rampage tied the game 2-2 at 11:48 of the third period, but the Heat took the lead back at 13:49 with their second power play goal of the night. Reinhart jammed in a loose puck on a goal-mouth scramble for his fifth goal of the season. Baertschi and Kolanos each drew their second assists of the game on Reinhart’s go-ahead goal.
Less than two minutes after the Heat went up 3-2, the Rampage scored twice in 14 seconds to give the home team a 4-3 lead with just 4:12 remaining in regulation.
With an empty net behind the Heat, Jones silenced the AT&T Center with his third goal of the season, with 9.2 seconds left in the game. Reinhart and MacKenzie assisted on the goal that forced overtime.
After five scoreless minutes of overtime, the game went to the shootout. Jones and Walter scored for the Heat, while Barry Brust stopped all four Rampage attempts.
Brust made his second consecutive start and stopped 36 of 40 shots before blanking the Rampage on four shootout opportunities. The Heat outshot the Rampage by a 41-40 margin.
The Heat scored on two of their five power play opportunities, while the penalty kill erased all three San Antonio man advantages.
The Heat will return home to the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre for a pair of games against the Rockford IceHogs (AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks) on Friday, March 22nd and Saturday, March 23rd. Both games begin at 7:00 PM PDT.