ABBOTSFORD, BC -- Two games remain in the Heat’s eight-game home stand and the squad will have two more chances this weekend to end their lengthy losing skid. Due to injuries and call-up’s to the Calgary Flames, the Heat were forced to dress three defenceman as forwards in their last game on Sunday against Chicago. It did not end well in a 4-1 loss, but help is on the way with Max Reinhart back from the Flames, Brendan Connolly recalled from Alaska, and Tim Miller acquired from San Antonio at the AHL trade deadline.
Time is beginning to wind down in the 2013-2014 regular season, with just 15 games remaining on the schedule for the Heat. They will play nine games on the road and six at home and currently have a seven point cushion on ninth place Oklahoma City.
In the standings, the Heat sit in fifth place in the Western Conference with a 33-21-5-2 record and 73 points.
HEAT vs. COMETS (AHL AFFILIATE OF THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS)
Friday, March 14th – 8:00 PM MST
Saturday, March 15th – 8:00 PM MST
If there is one team the Heat would like to end this current losing streak against, the Utica Comets would be at the top of the list. The newest AHL franchise, has been a thorn in the side of the Heat as the Comets have beat them in six straight games and lead the season series with a 6-1-1-0 record. The Heat still have time to turn it around though, with four head to head meetings still to go in the 12 game series.
The Comets have been a remarkable story in the second half of this AHL season. After losing their first 10 games of the season, they are 15-6-1-1 since January 18th, and overall, have a .500 record of 26-26-3-4 for 59 points. They arrive to the Fraser Valley on a four game winning streak with three of their most recent wins coming in the shootout.
Veteran centre Cal O’Reilly will be a player to keep an eye on as he is currently riding a five game assist streak and has 14 assists in his last 10 games. However, they will be without their leading goal scorer in Ben Ferriero, who is injured and did not make the trip to Abbotsford. His six goals in eight games, leads all skaters in the season series.
2013-14 Heat head to head stats vs. Utica Comets:
10/30/13—ABB 5 UTI 4 @ Utica Memorial Auditorium OT
11/01/13—ABB 4 UTI 3 @ Utica Memorial Auditorium
11/29/13—ABB 2 UTI 3 @ Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre
11/30/13—ABB 3 UTI 4 @ Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre OT
12/18/13—ABB 2 UTI 4 @ Utica Memorial Auditorium
12/20/13—ABB 0 UTI 3 @ Utica Memorial Auditorium
01/24/14—ABB 0 UTI 1 @ Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre OT
01/25/14—ABB 3 UTI 4 @ Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre OT
Individual leaders in season series (among active skaters):
ABB: Reinhart: 6 points in 4 GP (3-3-6), Billins: 4 points in 7 GP (1-3-4), Olson: 3 points in 8 GP (2-1-3)
UTI: Ferriero: 8 points in 8 GP (6-2-8), Pelletier: 8 points in 6 GP (2-6-8), Lain: 4 points in 6 GP (4-0-4). Eriksson: 5 GP (4-1-0, 141/151 saves, 2 SO)
NEWS & NOTES
On Wednesday, the Calgary Flames announced that they have assigned forward Max Reinhart to the Heat. Reinhart played in four games during his call-up and registered two assists. The North Vancouver native is tied for the team lead in scoring on the Heat with 45 points (17-28-45).
On Thursday, the Heat announced that they have recalled forward Brendan Connolly from the Alaska Aces, the Heat’s developmental ECHL affiliate. Connolly, a native of Canmore, Alberta, has played in three games with the Heat this season, registering one assist. In 46 games with the Alaska Aces, Connolly has recorded 46 points (20-26-46) and 103 penalty minutes.
On Thursday, the Heat announced that they have acquired forward Tim Miller from the San Antonio Rampage in exchange for future considerations. Miller, a native of Davisburg, Michigan, is a veteran of 214 AHL games and has registered 78 points (35-43-78) and 203 penalty minutes in his career. This season, in 28 games split between the Chicago Wolves, Springfield Falcons, and San Antonio Rampage, Miller has recorded 10 points (1-9-10) and 39 penalty minutes.
Corban Knight recorded his first career NHL goal on Thursday night in Calgary’s 7-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. The High River, Alberta native has played in five games with the Flames since his recall.
Brandon Astle will bring all live Heat action this week on 101.7 CIVL FM and on www.teamradio.ca. The pre-game show begins 15 minutes before puck drop.