The Abbotsford Heat close out 2012 in Illinois with three games in three days against Midwest Division clubs. The Heat will play Saturday night and Sunday afternoon games against the Chicago Wolves (AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks) before a New Year’s Eve game against the Peoria Rivermen (AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues).
The Heat and the Wolves last met on December 19th in Chicago, where the Wolves won 1-0 in a game featuring great goaltending by Barry Brust and Matt Climie. The Wednesday morning game drew over 8,000 students from Chicago area schools and was the first of three Heat road games prior to the Christmas break.
The Heat will face the Wolves in four of their next seven contests, including a pair of games at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre (AESC) on January 11th and 12th. The Heat have earned three of a possible six points against Chicago this season. The December 29th and January 12th games between the Wolves and Heat will both be televised on Sportsnet.
The 2012-13 Heat season began with a pair of home games against the Peoria Rivermen, featuring 4-1 and 6-2 Heat victories. The December 31st game is the first of two road games for the Heat at Carver Arena this season.
Barry Brust leads the AHL with a goals against average of 1.26 and a save percentage of .951, holding a record of 8-3-1 with just two losses suffered in regulation. Brust has started five of the last seven games for the Heat, with Danny Taylor starting the other two.
The Heat sit two points behind the Toronto Marlies for top spot in the AHL North Division and fourth in the Western Conference. The Wolves and Rivermen both currently sit outside of the playoff picture, but are both within four points of the Midwest Division lead.
The next home games for the Heat will be January 4th and 5th against the Rochester Americans (AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres). The Heat will then host the Chicago Wolves (AHL Affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks) on January 11th and 12th in the Wolves’ final visit to British Columbia this regular season.