ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Michael Latta had a goal and an assist to lead the Milwaukee Admirals to a 3-1 victory over the Abbotsford Heat in American Hockey League action Saturday.
Latta's goal started a third-period, three-goal run by the Admirals. Victor Bartley and Taylor Beck also scored for Milwaukee (4-0-1) ? its only loss of the season came in a shootout against the Heat on Friday.
It was Milwaukee goalie Atte Engren?s first game played in six months, and just his fifth AHL game. He made 24 saves in the win.
?We?re all happy for him,? said Milwaukee head coach Kirk Muller of his netminder. ?He?s been very patient. 'Smitty' (starting goalie Jeremy Smith) has been playing so well that we were running with him but we knew we had to get Atte in. The guys played hard in front of him.?
Clay Wilson scored for Abbotsford (4-2-0).
Abbotsford goaltender Leland Irving, who has played every minute for the Heat in the 2011-12 season, stopped 25 shots.
?We played a hard 40 minutes but their goalie played really good,? said Latta of Irving???s play. ???We just kept going to the net and finally got to him.???
Abbotsford opened the scoring with one second to go in a tripping penalty to Chris Flynn. Greg Nemisz fed a perfect cross over to Wilson, who snuck in from the point, and had a tap in for his first of the year and first as a member of the Heat at 10:49.
The Heat almost went up 2-0 two minutes later as Dustin Sylvester got behind the defence and redirected a perfect Paul Byron pass, but the Engren made the save.
???He played great and made great saves when we needed him to,??? said Latta.
The Admirals tied the game 57 seconds into the third period. Kyle Wilson???s shot from the low slot was deflected by Latta over Irving???s arm for his second of the season.
???It was a nice shot from Wilson that I was able to get a tip on,??? said Latta, Nashville???s third-round pick in ???09.
Bartley one-timed a shot through the legs of an Abbotsford defender and through a screen before trickling between Irving's pads at 8:52 of the third. It was Milwaukee???s first road power-play goal this year.
???We didn???t work very hard to find the puck [on the power play goal], I was a little disappointed in that,??? said Heat coach Troy Ward.
Just 31 seconds later the Admirals doubled their lead when Beck crashed the net poked and the puck across the goal line for his second goal of the season to the dismay of the 2,422 Heat fans at Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.
???We have to be fair to our opponent; Milwaukee was doing a good job,??? said Ward of his opponent. ???They saw us crumbling and they put it to us.???
Engren had to make two tough stops with just over a minute to go in the third but stood tall to lead his team to the win.
Dating back to last season the Admirals have recorded points in their last 21 road games, including all four this year.
???Collective effort [has been the key this year],??? said Latta. ???We have five rookie defencemen. Everyone stepped up on a different line. I don???t think anyone had many expectations going in but we just work hard and try to follow coach???s game plan.???
Milwaukee will conclude their road trip when they visit the Chicago Wolves Friday night, but will stop at home first.
Abbotsford???s now begins a road trip on which Ward hopes his team begins to find its rhythem, beginning with a visit of the Toronto Marlies Wednesday night
NOTES: Raitis Ivanans was playing his first game in a year since he suffered a concussion with the Calgary Flames in the first game of the 2010-11 season. He logged 4:43 of ice time.