ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Heat will look to build off a very strong 2013 and are aiming to carry their impressive play into the New Year. This weekend will be the last pair of home games before the team embarks on a six game road trip that will be completed in a 12 day span.
The power play continues to shine on home ice; coming into this weekend, the power play has scored at least once in eight straight games at the AESC. The Heat are second in the AHL in power play efficiency on home ice, operating at 27.8% efficiency.
The Heat are on a three-game winning streak and have recaptured first place in the Western Conference with a 23-9-1-1 record and 48 points.
BULLDOGS @ HEAT (AHL AFFILIATE OF THE MONTREAL CANADIENS)
In the teams’ two prior meetings, the games have been very close with Heat coming out on top both times in a shootout. The Heat have owned the ‘Dogs after overtime with shooters scoring five out of six times, while Joni Ortio has been perfect stopping all seven Bulldogs attempts.
The Bulldogs currently sit in 7th place in the Western Conference, trailing the Heat by 14 points with a 15-14-0-4 record. Like the Heat, Hamilton is riding a three-game win streak into this weekend with their last loss coming 12 days ago to Abbotsford at Copps Coliseum. Though the ‘Dogs have struggled with consistency on the road, two of the three wins have come away from home. Of the 33 games they’ve played, the Bulldogs have pushed 10 of those games into overtime and six of those 10 have needed a shootout. While they have not lost a game in overtime this year, the Bulldogs have only two wins in six shootouts this season.
The Bulldogs are led by AHL veteran Martin St. Pierre who leads the team with 25 points (7-18-25). In addition to St. Pierre, the Heat will need to watch Greg Pateryn, who has points in three straight games (2-2-4), and Mike Blunden, who has four points (2-2-4) in his last two games.
2013-14 Heat head-to-head stats vs. Hamilton Bulldogs:
11/02/13- ABB 3 HAM 2 S/O @ Copps Coliseum
12/22/13- ABB 3 HAM 2 S/O @ Copps Coliseum
Individual leaders in season series (among active skaters):
ABB: Reinhart: 2 points in 2 GP (0-2-2), Arsene: 1 point in 1 GP (1-0-1), Hanowski: 1 point in 1 GP (1-0-1), Ortio 2 GP (2-0-0-0, 67/71 saves)
HAM: Nattinen: 2 points in 2 GP (1-1-2), Chouinard: 1 point in 2 GP (1-0-1), Courtnall: 1 point in 2 GP (1-0-1), Tokarski: 1 GP (0-0-1-0, 39/41 saves)
NEWS & NOTES
Friday night is the official launch of the $3 $2 $1 Brew Dog ‘N Pop promotion to be held on six games during the remainder of the 2013-14 season. The remaining games are:
• Friday, January 31st vs. Hamilton Bulldogs (also Legends of Hockey Night)
• Saturday, February 8th vs. Texas Stars (also Country Night)
• Friday February 28th vs. Grand Rapids Griffins (also Legends of Hockey Night)
• Saturday March 8th vs. Chicago Wolves
• Friday April 11th vs. Oklahoma City Barons
Troy G. Ward is sitting on 99 career wins as the Head Coach of the Abbotsford Heat. Ward is the all-time coaching wins leader in Heat history.
The Calgary Flames have returned both Chris Breen and Markus Granlund back to the Abbotsford Heat. Breen played three games for the Flames on his latest call-up and averaged 8:38 in ice time, while Granlund did not see any game action and still awaits his first NHL game.
Goalie Joni Ortio earned back to back wins last weekend and is tied for the AHL wins lead with 15.
On December 30th, the Calgary Flames announced that they acquired right winger Kevin Westgarth from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Greg Nemisz. Nemisz played in 32 games with the Abbotsford Heat with 9 points (5-4-9) on the season. His 206 games with the Heat ranks second in franchise history.
The Heat signed veteran forward Adrian Foster. The Lethbridge, Alberta native has played in 15 games with the San Francisco Bulls (ECHL) this season and has recorded 17 points (5-12-17) and 36 penalty minutes. Foster, is a former first round pick (28th overall) of the New Jersey Devils in 2001 and is a veteran of 200 AHL games.
Brandon Astle and Vanni DeBartolo will bring all live Heat action this weekend on 101.7 CIVL FM and on www.teamradio.ca. The pre-game show begins 15 minutes before puck drop.