Abbotsford, BC – Heat goaltender Leland Irving picked up his league-leading 11th win during the team’s split against Manitoba last week.
It was by far Irving’s most dominating performance in the team’s year and a half in Abbotsford as the Swan Hills, AB native turned aside 40 shots including one for the highlight reel last Friday night.
During a 5-on-3 man advantage for Manitoba, which was nearly two-minutes long, Irving turned aside a Cody Hodgson chance and then quickly got over to rob defenceman Lee Sweatt from the point preserving a 1-0 lead at the time.
“I made the first save and I was all stretched out, that was a tough save too coming through traffic and I got a piece of it with my blocker,” explained Irving. “They had another chance at the side of the net so I was just kind of sprawling all over trying to keep it out.
“Next thing I know it’s a pass to the point and a quick shot. I was just trying to get a piece of it, I saw it coming the whole way so I was lucky to get a glove on it.”
Irving was named the game’s first star and afterward Heat head coach Jim Playfair said the 22-year-old’s performance is what he expected from a starting goalie.
“I think that (last Friday) was probably, by far, his best game and in saying that I would tell you the team in front of him wasn’t nearly as good as it had to be,” Playfair said. “Leland’s gone through the growing pains of last year and he made up his mind this year that he wanted to put himself in a position to be the number one goaltender.
“I think he’s played really well, he’s given us a chance to win obviously, he’s got 11 wins on the season.”
WEEK IN REVIEW
Abbotsford managed to squeeze out a 2-1 shootout win against the Manitoba Moose last Friday night as Lance Bouma and Jon Rheault provided the offence in the victory.
The following night, in front of 7,044 at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre, the Heat dropped a 3-1 decision to the Moose. Matt Keith picked up his team-leading 10th goal of the season in the loss.
The Heat are currently in the middle of a three-game road trip out east, which saw them lose 3-2, in a shootout, to the Hamilton Bulldogs on Wednesday night. Andrew Carroll and Bryan Cameron had the goals in a losing cause.
Defenceman Matt Pelech won the team’s annual Movember campaign collecting 6,094 of the 16, 380 total votes over a two-day period. As a team, the Abbotsford Heat raised $1,230 in the two days.
BY THE NUMBERS
2 – Gaelan Patterson
tied for second among rookies with two short-handed goals.
3 – Carter Bancks
tied for third, among rookies, with three short-handed points.
4 – Bryan Cameron
and Jon Rheault tied for the league-lead with four shootout goals.
4-2-0-1 – Abbotsford’s record against the North Division.
8-0-0-2 – Record when leading after two periods.
INJURY UPDATEMitch Wahl
– Broken cheekbone Carter Bancks
- ShoulderGaelan Patterson
Cam Cunning - Shoulder
John Negrin - Knee
Kris Chucko - Concussion
Matt Pelech – Shoulder
Ryley Grantam - Ankle
“Hey, you look at the refereeing, I mean I know you got to be careful what you say, but the mighty Moose had their way.” Jim Playfair after the team’s 3-1 loss to Manitoba last Saturday night.
Abottsford wraps up their three-game road-trip in southern Ontario on Friday and Saturday with a pair of games against the Toronto Marlies (AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs). The Heat return home for a two-game set against the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche) beginning Tuesday at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.Author: Dhiren Mahiban- calgaryflames.com freelance writer