ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Krys Kolanos is regaining his form just in time to help the Abbotsford Heat climb up the standings in the tight Western Conference.
Kolanos, who had not scored since March 2, had a huge night, recording a hat trick and two assists the Heat rallied to beat the San Antonio Rampage 6-5 Sunday afternoon in American Hockey League action.
Kolanos, who had been shuttled to and from the Calgary Flames through a stretch in which he scored just one goal in nine AHL games, spearheaded an Abbotsford comeback that began with his first-period power play goal.
Abbotsford trailed 3-0 in the first period but slowly chipped away en-route to the win that put them back into fourth place in the West.
"When Krys is playing how Krys played today, I wish I could put it in some kind of words?he just illuminates the room," said Heat head coach Troy Ward. "He makes everyone else more confident."
Kolanos played on a new line with Paul Byron and Dustin Sylvester, while his former centre Ben Walter skated with Hugh Jessiman and Adam Estoclet. Both lines figured heavily into the win.
"We had some huge efforts," said Heat forward Carter Bancks. "Kolanos stepped up huge, with Sylvester and Byron. Walter???s unit played great. It's a great win. Those ones feel really good when you can come back."
Walter had two third-period goals and had an assist while Sylvester also scored and added an assist for Abbotsford (35-26-7). Jessiman and Byron each had two helpers.
"Walter, Jessiman and Estoclet have been one of our best lines," Ward said. "They've kind of held us together on road. We managed those guys back together today. I wanted to put Kolanos with more speed so we put him with Byron and Sylvester. Krys skated the game well. They had some chemistry."
Kolanos was humble after his five-point afternoon.
"I've got to give all my credit to my linemates," he said. "Sly (Sylvester) and Paulie B (Byron), they really skate the game well. They create opportunities for me to come with speed and give me time. They played unbelievable games tonight."
The Heat needed the big game after losing 6-1 at home to the Rampage on Saturday.
"It sounds stupid to say in hockey but we just stuck with our system," Bancks said. "We had guys blocking shots, diving in front of pucks. You could just kind of feel it, even when we were down 3-0 that there was no way that we were going to lose this game."
San Antonio was up 4-3 when Walter one-timed a pass from Adam Estoclet with Hugh Jessiman screening in front at 1:28 of the third period.
Walter's second of the game gave the Heat their first lead. After Jessiman drove hard to the net on a power play, Walter shovelled in a loose puck for his 16th of the year at 14:41.
At 15:42 Kolanos completed the hat trick. Sylvester centred the puck from deep in the corner to Kolanos at the far side of the net and he roofed it from a bad angle.
"We could have the whole team shoot that 6,000 times and not make one of those," Ward said. "That's a goal-scorer???s goal. That???s an unbelievable shot. You just don't do that."
Sullivan got the Rampage back within one at 16:57. The defenceman took a pass from Evan Barlow at full speed and beat Irving with a wrist shot short side for his sixth of the season.
Kolanos' third goal of the day stood as the winner.
Greg Rallo, James Wright, Wacey Rabbit, Bracken Kearns and Sean Sullivan scored for San Antonio (35-27-5), which dropped from fifth to seventh in the West.
The Rampage opened the scoring at 8:25 of the first. Sullivan shot the puck on net and it was redirected by Rallo for his 19th of the year.
It was quickly 2-0. Just after an Abbotsford penalty expired, Wright took the puck off the end boards and banked it off the arm of goaltender Danny Taylor. That gave the Saskatoon native goals in three straight games and 12 on the season.
The scoring continued when a clearing attempt off the glass took a fortuitous bounce right to Rabbit and the Lethbridge native scored on a short-handed 2-on-1 with a gorgeous wrist shot.
That goal at 16:05 chased Taylor from Abbotsford's net after he made just three saves on six shots. He was replaced by Leland Irving who stopped 12 out of 14 shots for the win.
"(They were) all bad bounces I'd say for him," Bancks said. "I think Troy just thought it could change the momentum of the game. You see that quite often?????????even if it's not the goalie's fault. Irv (Leland Irving) came in and played great. He made some big saves for us. You feel for Danny because you know he wants to be good every night."
The Heat got on the board two minutes later during a 5-on-3 power play. Kolanos one-timed a pass from Brent Connelly and it squeaked through the pads of Grumet-Morris at 18:01.
Sylvester made it a one-goal game at 15:33 of the second when he snapped a cross-ice pass from Kolanos.
The Rampage temporarily restored their two-goal lead with a power-play goal. Jon Matsumoto centred to Kearns for an easy tap in from the blue paint at 17:06 of the second.
With 66 seconds remaining in the middle frame, Kolanos brought the Heat back to within one with his second of the game. He took a pass from Byron, snaked across the blue-line and sniped a shot from the hash marks.