The Abbotsford Heat staved off Calder Cup playoff elimination with an impressive 3-1 victory over North Division semi-final series victory over the Rochester Americans at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre Friday.
"I think the team played well," said Heat forward Jason Jaffray, playing in his first game after coming off an injury. "Our older guys had to be our top players tonight and that's what you need when you're behind in a series."
The Americans pulled goaltender Tyler Plante with over two minutes left in the third period and blistered shots at the Heat goal but were unable to find the back of the net. Shantz sparkled with several acrobatic saves in the final minutes
Jon Rheault opened the scoring for the Heat on a brilliant individual effort at 7:45 of the first period. Rheault picked a cross-ice pass from Tyler Spurgeon and broke in alone on Rochester goaltender Tyler Plante and beat him high stickside.
Garth Murray gave the heat a 2-0 lead less than three minutes later when he took a pretty John Lammer's pass in the crease and slipped it past Plante.
The two-goal lead was short lived. NHL veteran Mike York scored on goal-mouth scramble for the Americans at 13:06 of the first to make it 2-1.
The Heat out shot the American 19-6 in the first and took a 2-1 lead into the dressing room. The two teams played a scoreless second period with both sides firing seven shots on goal.
Jaffray had a chance to restore the Heat two-goal lead on a penalty shot mid-way through the second period after getting held up by a Rochester defender on a break away. However, Jaffray lost the puck as he went to make a move on Plante and the puck slid harmlessly into the goalkeeper's pads.
David Van der Gulik restored the Heat's two-goal lead on a beautiful individual play at 9:14 of the third period. Van der Gulik scored his first goal of the playoffs when he intercepted a clearing pass inside the Rochester blue line and broke in alone on goal and beat Plante on a nifty backhand shot.
"It was exciting and nerve racking and those are the games you want to show up for and I think everyone in that locker room committed as team that we can beat any team," said Van der Gulik.
The two teams will face off in Game 6 Sunday in Rochester. The Honda Way pre game show will kick things off at 1:45 pm. Dave Sheldon will have the call of all the action beginning at 2 pm.