ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Lance Bouma hasn't piled up the points in his two seasons with the Abbotsford Heat, but he seems to have found a knack for scoring against the Texas Stars.
Bouma's third-period goal and a strong penalty kill lifted Abbotsford to a 2-1 win over the Stars on Friday in American Hockey League action.
Bouma broke a 1-1 tie at 5:32 of the third period with a bank shot from behind the goal to lift his team to victory. Bouma has just six points 30 games, but four points in four games versus the Stars.
"I've had a good go against them and our team has been successful against them so far this year," said the ex-Vancouver Giant.
The Heat's top-ranked penalty-killing unit ? which Bouma is a big role of ? had to handle two third-period Stars power plays.
Abbotsford (22-9-2) now has points in their last six home games (5-0-1) and are 8-1-1 in their past 10 games.
Jon Rheault also scored for Abbotsford.
Stephen Schultz opened the scoring for Texas (14-16-1).
Danny Taylor (11-5-0) made 33 saves in the win.
Texas' Jimmy Spratt (1-1-0) made 25 stops in his second AHL start. He was drafted by the Calgary Flames, Abbotsford's NHL affiliate, in 2004.
Abbotsford received an early bench minor for too many men, and Texas made them pay. Taylor stopped a Jordie Benn point shot but Schultz was in perfect position to bury the rebound at 3:35. Schultz has just three goals this year, but two of them came in Abbotsford this week.
The AHL's number one penalty-killing unit have allowed that quick goal, but it finished five-for-six in the game.
"They were a little bit disappointed with the first one," said Heat head coach Troy Ward. "They felt like they gave up an easy one. I thought the difference on the penalty kill as the game went on was based on pressure."
The Heat tied the game 28 seconds later. Krys Kolanos threaded a perfect pass through some legs to Rheault. In alone on Spratt, Rheault was stopped on his initial move but banked the loose puck off the goaltender???s skate and in for his 11th of the season.
"I always think the most important shift after a goal is the very next shift," said Spratt. "We got off to the start we wanted. Unfortunately they answered right back."
Rheault sent Kolanos in on a breakaway in the second period but with a Stars defender draped on him he was unable score on a well-positioned Spratt.
"I thought our guys did a pretty good job (of shutting down Abbotsford)," said Spratt. "They've got some weapons and did a pretty good job of getting to the net."
The Stars kept Taylor busy at the other end. Ryan Garbutt had a short-handed partial breakaway with just under five minutes to go in the second but the goalie from Plymouth, England, was square to the shot and turned it aside.
Taylor stopped 75 of 79 shots in the two wins.
"Taylor's been great for us," Bouma. "He's had to do a lot of work the last couple games."
Taylor started the play that led to the winning goal. From behind the net he fed the puck up to Justin Dowling who dangled across centre and fed Guillaume Desbiens. The former Vancouver Canuck put the puck on net and Bouma chased the rebound.
"I knew the goalie couldn't get back over there quick enough so I tried to just throw it on net as quick as possible," Bouma said.
Spratt was the victim of his own decision-making.
"I play pretty aggressive," he said. "I went down (on the initial shot), pushed back to my post, and the guy made a pretty good heads-up play banking it off of me."
The Heat next host the Grand Rapids Griffins at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre Jan. 6 and 7 before hitting the road for five against West Division rivals.
The Stars have one more road game versus the San Antonio Rampage Jan. 6 before heading home to face the Rockford Ice Hogs Jan. 7 and 8. They host Abbotsford on Jan. 11 in a rematch.
Spratt is hopeful his team will have corrected a few things by then.
"We fought hard but I think we were gripping our sticks a little tight on the power play ??? we're not cashing in right now," he said of the man-advantage unit that scored just once in 10 tries this week.