ABBOTSFORD, BC -- The Heat open their third homestand of the season this week with two games against the Toronto Marlies (AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs) at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC). The Marlies and Heat will play eight times this season, as the Heat returned to the AHL North Division in 2012-13.
Last season the Heat and Marlies played seven times in less than a month, including the final two regular season home games at the AESC and five games in the Western Conference semi-finals. The Marlies defeated the Heat in the best of seven series 4-1 and advanced to the Calder Cup final.
When asked if there is a growing rivalry between the two clubs, head coach Troy Ward said, “I felt that last year, even prior to the series. You’ve got two Canadian teams that want to do battle. We’ll find ourselves in a good battle this weekend.”
The Heat are currently three points ahead of the Marlies in the North Division standings and Toronto holds one game-in-hand. Through three weeks of the AHL season, all five North Division teams are within six points of each other.
European-born forwards Sven Baertschi (Switzerland) and Roman Horak (Czech Republic) lead the Heat with eight points apiece. Horak has recorded a point in each game this season and is tied for the AHL scoring lead with 7 goals. Baertschi has recorded four two-point games so far this season.
Off-season addition Keith Aucoin leads the Marlies with six assists, but has not yet scored a goal for Toronto. Aucoin split last season between the Hershey Bears and the Washington Capitals, and is the active all-time leading scorer in the AHL with 783 points over twelve seasons.
The Heat and Marlies split the 2011-12 season series, with all four games won by the home team. In the playoff series, the road team won four of five games.
Fans attending Thursday and Friday night’s games can enter to win a VIP experience with Darryl Sittler during the season's final ‘Legends of Hockey’ night on April 12th. For tickets call 1 (877) 452-HEAT(4328)or visit www.AbbotsfordHeat.com.