TORONTO, ON -- The Abbotsford Heat will look to extend their winning streak to 12 on Thursday night after beating the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs) 3-1 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals best-of-seven series. Max Reinhart scored a goal and added an assist in just his third professional game, and Danny Taylor won his ninth consecutive start to give the Heat the series-opening win in front of 4,934 fans.
The Heat would open the scoring as Greg Nemisz and Hugh Jessiman went hard to the net after a rebound at 15:24 of the first period. While neither Nemisz nor Jessiman found the puck, Max Reinhart playing in just his second Calder Cup Playoff game did and put it over a down and out Marlies puck-stopper. Reinhart scored twice in his pro debut on April 15th against the Marlies in Abbotsford; he now has three goals and an assist against the Marlies in just two games.
The Heat would extend their lead to 2-0 in the second period when Kolanos moved a puck behind the net to Reinhart, who eluded a Marlies defender by banking the puck off the back of the net to himself before setting up Chris Breen’s one-time blast. The goal was Breen’s first of the post-season and first since December 29th when he scored his lone regular season goal against the Texas Stars.
The Heat led by two goals to open the third period, but the home team brought the crowd to life with an even strength goal just 1:27 into the final frame. The Marlies outshot the Heat 15-5 in the third period but the visitors would hold on, and ice the game with an empty-net goal from Alternate Captain Guillaume Desbiens at 18:39 of the period.
Danny Taylor made 31 saves on 32 shots and made numerous big plays to keep the Heat ahead in the game. Taylor was named the game’s first star; He has now allowed just seven goals through four playoff games.
The Heat and Marlies power plays were held off the score sheet on Tuesday night as both teams failed to score on three attempts – both penalty kills were a perfect three-for-three.
Game 2 is set for Thursday night in Toronto with a 7:00 local start time, 4:00 PDT. The Heat host Games 3, 4 & *5 at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre on Saturday the 5th, Tuesday the 8th and Wednesday the 9th of May (*if necessary).
You can catch the broadcast of Game 2 on theAHL.com in its entirety beginning with the 3:45 PDT pre-game show, while Country 107.1 will join the broadcast live at 5:00 PDT. You can also tune in on their website, or on the Rogers Radio App.