The Abbotsford Heat may be out of the running for first in the Western Conference – the Oklahoma City Barons have a big lead in that regard – but pretty much every other position, from fourth through last, are still possibilities with 21 games remaining in the regular season.
Currently they sit in sixth in the Conference, just two points behind the Chicago Wolves in fourth, but just two points up on the ninth-place Rochester Americans, currently outside the playoff picture.
ROAD TRIP COMING TO END
The Heat have just about finished their road trip through the American Midwest. Two 4-3 shootout losses to the Peoria Rivermen sandwiched a pair of 4-1 decisions, a loss to the Milwaukee Admirals and a win over Chicago.
Wednesday they visit the Rockford Ice Hogs to wrap-up the five-game road trip.
The Calgary Flames reassigned three players to the AHL this week, while recalling two others.
With Henrik Karlsson`s return to the Flames’ crease Leland Irving was sent back to the Heat.
As well, with Curtis Glencross’ return there was no spot for Paul Byron, who was reassigned to the Heat.
Krys Kolanos was reassigned to the Heat on Monday after 10 games played with the Flames. He recorded one assist in that span.
Finally, the Flames recalled Guillaume Desbiens to bolster their fourth line.
Meanwhile Abbotsford released Judd Blackwater from his PTO. After recording 38 points in 31 games from the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers this fall the Lethbridge-native signed a tryout offer with the Heat but went pointless in 17 games, adding 15 PIMs and a minus-13 rating.
Also the Abby blue line was bolstered with the return of Brian Connolly from his shoulder injury.
HOMESTAND COMING UP
Beginning on Friday the Heat have a six-game home stand, the first of two before the season’s end. In fact, of the final 20 games only six will be on the road, giving the Heat an edge in their drive for the fourth spot in the Western Conference.
STATISTICS TO NOTE
When Adam Estoclet was acquired by the Heat they were hoping to fill the void of a few injured or recalled forwards but they couldn’t have imagined he would have the point total he does.
After recording just two points in 12 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins earlier this year the Naperville, Illinois-native has nine points in seven games. With leading scorer Krys Kolanos now in the NHL with the Flames, the offence had to come from somewhere. The leading active point-getter with the Heat now is Connolly, who has 41 points in 52 games, including five in his first eight games with the Heat since being acquired in the trade for Brendan Morrison.
Clay Wilson recorded two goals on Saturday, giving him 11 goals and tying him for the lead among AHL defencemen.