ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Krys Kolanos scored the winner in the shootout to lift the Abbotsford Heat to a 3-2 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins in AHL action Saturday night.
Kolanos scored top corner on goalie Tom McCollum to give the Heat a 2-1 lead in the shootout. Then, after Landon Ferraro missed the net, Blair Jones clinched the win with a similar shot.
Kolanos added a goal in regulation, while Tyler Ruegsegger also scored for Abbotsford (32-30-10), who kept pace with the three clubs they are chasing for the final playoff spot, three points back. However, Chicago, Rockford and Milwaukee all have games in hand.
Danny Taylor stopped 32 shots for Abbotsford.
Chad Billins and Tomas Tatar scored for Grand Rapids (40-23-7), which still leads the Midwest Division but is now two points back of Toronto for second in the Western Conference.
McCollum made 26 saves for the Griffins.
For a brief moment it looked like Abbotsford opened the scoring in the first minute of the game.
Quintin Laing shot the puck from the boards and it was deflected past the Griffins' netminder by Ruegsegger but it was immediately waved off because it was hit with a high stick.
Grand Rapids finally opened the scoring with a power play goal at 17:04 of the first period. Billins??? one-timer from the top of the circle beat Taylor just inside the post, blocker side, with Andrej Nestrasil and Tomas Tatar screening in front.
Abbotsford tied it with a power play goal of its own at 7:31 of the second period when Ruegsegger took a pass off the rush from Ben Walter in the high slot, then skated to the right face-off dot and backhanded a shot past McCollum.
Grand Rapids had a two-man advantage early in the third when both Jones and Brady Lamb were off for clearing the puck over the glass. However the Heat penalty kill held the Griffins at bay, keeping the game knotted at 1-1.
The Heat took the lead briefly at 11:27 of the third. McCollum lost track of a bouncing puck through a sea of bodies as it came right to Kolanos at the side of the net, and quickly tapped it in for his second goal in as many games.
Tatar tied the game for Grand Rapids when his hard wrist shot beat Taylor at 13:02.
In overtime it looked like the Griffins had scored with two minutes to go but as the Heat player crashed into his own goalie he also knocked the net off, causing the official to wave off the goal immediately.
Then, with 25 seconds left in overtime Jan Mursak looked to have Taylor beat, taking a centring pass just outside the crease, but he steered it an inch wide of the far post, sending the game to a shootout.