ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Jon Rheault's record-breaking performance came as a complete surprise to the Abbotsford Heat forward.
Rheault set a new franchise scoring record and the Heat moved within one point of first overall in the American Hockey League standings after a 5-3 win over the Texas Stars on Thursday.
Rheault had three assists to give him 63 points with Abbotsford, passing Cam Cunning for the most points in the Heat's three-year history.
The record was announced after his first-period assist but when asked about the mark in a post-game press conference, Rheault wasn't sure what record he had broken.
"I actually had no idea," Rheault said. "It's a great organization so I'm obviously happy about it."
Rheault, a native of Arlington, Texas, has two goals and four assists in three games versus the Stars this year.
"He's been a big part of this organization since he got here," said Heat head coach Troy Ward. "It shows a mark of consistency."
Rheault had missed three games with an injury but he said his time in the press box did him some good.
"When you're looking from up top things look a lot slower," said Rheault. "I learned a lot in those three games I missed."
The Heat (21-9-2) trail the Oklahoma City Barons by a point in both the West Division and the overall AHL standings while Texas (14-15-1) sits last in the West.
Krys Kolanos had a goal and two assists for the Heat, with Quintin Laing, Akim Aliu, Chris Breen and Guillaume Desbiens also scoring for Abbotsford.
Scott Glennie had a goal and an assist for the Stars, while Colton Sceviour and Stephen Schultz also scored.
Danny Taylor (11-5-0) made 42 saves in the win.
"Ever since he got here he's been pretty phenomenal," Breen said of Taylor. "Tonight was no exception. He was lights-out again for us.???
Tyler Beskorowany (6-9-0) stopped 25 shots in the loss.
Texas opened the scoring at 3:59 of the first period as Glennie took a pass just across the blue-line and handcuffed Taylor with a shot high to the blocker side for his fourth goal of the season.
"I thought they'd have a better push than us and they did (because) they played the other night," Ward said. "They had their game legs. We were a little slow out of the gate."
The AHL's fourth-ranked power play tied the game for Abbotsford just under three minutes later. Kolanos made a move by a defender before centring to Laing in front and the Heat captain banked the puck off the post and in for his eighth of the season. Laing now has four goals in his last four games.
The Heat went up 2-1 at 11:35 when Kolanos scored on a wrap-around for his 16th of the season. Rheault drew the first assist on the goal.
"That line kind of got disbanded for a while and lost their mojo," said Ward. "Rheault came back after the break???and I thought he was the difference maker on that line."
Sceviour scored at 4:48 of the second period as he dug the puck out of a scrum and fired it over Taylor???s shoulder, giving him five on the year.
Aliu, on loan from the Winnipeg Jets, put Abbotsford back up by one just as a power play expired. He banked the puck off a defenceman from behind the net at 11:42.
The back-and-forth game continued when the Stars tied the game at 14:29. Schultz converted a rebound at 14:29 of the second to tie the game 3-3.
"Obviously we are a great team but we need to learn how to put teams away," said Rheault about his team???s inability to keep a lead. "Tonight we found ourselves in a seesaw battle. We`re a better team than that and that`s something we`ve got to learn to do as the season progresses so we can be a force in the playoffs."
Just after a fight between Jordan Henry and Francis Wathier, spurred by Wathier???s hit on Kolanos, the Heat went back up. Kolanos won the face-off back to Breen and his point shot was deflected by a Texas player past Beskorowany at 15:56 of the second. It was Breen???s first goal since March 25, 2011 against the Manitoba Moose and was the eventual winner.
Desbiens gave Abbotsford some insurance at 13:22 of the third, taking a pass from Rheault on a two-on-one during four-on-four action.
NOTES: It was the first AHL game of the year for Judd Blackwater, who signed a professional tryout contract with Abbotsford on Thursday He was third in the ECHL in scoring for Las Vegas.