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Heat's winning streak halted by Checkers

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

CHARLOTTE, NC -- The Abbotsford Heat lost to the Charlotte Checkers (AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes) 5-4 in their final game prior to the AHL All-Star break on Saturday afternoon.

The loss ended the Heat’s season long five game winning streak,as the teams traded nine even strength goals. Defenceman Drew MacKenzie earned his first AHL point and forward Akim Aliu scored his first goal of the season for the Heat.

The Heat scored first for the sixth straight game with Chris Breen's third goal of the season. Max Reinhart and Roman Horak drew assists on the goal at 2:04 of the first period.

Tyler Ruegsegger extended the Heat lead to 2-0 at the 9:18 mark of the opening period with a slap shot from the top of the right circle. Reinhart and Horak set up Ruegsegger’s fourth goal of the season. The Heat led 2-1 after 20 minutes.

The Checkers tied the game at two goals apiece in the second period before Dustin Sylvester’s ninth goal of the season put the Heat up 3-2. Sylvester’s fourth point of the weekend was assisted by Quintin Laing and rookie defenceman MacKenzie. The assist was the first point of MacKenzie’s AHL career.

Mikael Jordan and Tim Wallace scored in the final six minutes of the second period, and the Checkers led the game 4-3 after 40 minutes.

Aliu tied the game 4-4 at 4:14 of the third period with his first goal of the season, one day after picking up two assists. Joe Piskula and Brett Olson drew assists on the goal.

The Checkers grabbed their second lead of the game at 7:31 of the third when Bobby Raymond scored his first goal of the season, which stood as the game winner.

All-Star Barry Brust made his seventeenth appearance of the season, making 34 saves on 39 shots for just his sixth loss of the season. The Heat were outshot 39-18 in the contest.

The Heat power play did not score on two opportunities. The Heat penalty kill was perfect for the second game against the Checkers, erasing all four Heat minor penalties taken.

Laing and Brust will now head to Providence, RI where they will represent the Abbotsford Heat and Western Conference in the 2013 AHL All-Star Classic in Providence, RI. The AHL Skills Competition goes on Sunday, while the AHL All-Star Game is set for a 4:00 PST puck drop on Monday night.

The Heat resume league play in Cleveland on January 31st where they’ll face the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche) twice and the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings) once over a three-day stretch.

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