Abbotsford Heat Report: Jan. 27th-Feb. 3rd

Goalie Olivier Roy was re-called by the Heat on Monday. - Rick Stewart

The Abbotsford Heat had a rough weekend, losing both games to the visiting Utica Comets. They look to close out January on a high note when they take on the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday.

The Breakdown

The Abbotsford Heat did not fare well when they returned home to AESC last weekend. They lost both games in overtime to the Utica Comets, a team that is in last place in the Western Conference.

The Heat were shutout 1-0 by the Comets on Friday night when Benn Ferriero beat Joni Ortio in extra time to break the scoreless tie.

On Saturday evening, Ferriero was at it again. After Alexandre Grenier scored for the Comets to tie the game at three at 11:13 of the third period, Ferriero beat MacDonald in overtime to secure the sweep for Utica.

On Monday, the Heat made a transaction with their ECHL affiliate the Alaska Aces, which saw Olivier Roy and Drew MacKenzie called up to Abbotsford while Zach McKelvie and Jordan Kremyr were sent down to Alaska. Defenceman Shane O'Brien was also sent down to Abbotsford by the Flames, while Calgary also recalled defenceman Chris Breen.

Last week also saw the Heat loan Mark Cundari to the Chicago Wolves in exchange for forward Corey Locke, leaving many to wonder where the defenceman fits in the Flames' future plans after being acquired in the trade that sent Jay Bouwmeester to St. Louis.

Who's Hot

The Heat again find themselves lacking in the offense department of late, although that's easy to say when you're a team that has only been playing 1-2 games per week this week and last. The Heat scored just three times in two games last week, and the usual suspects had a hand in two of them.

Markus Granlund and Max Reinhart each scored a goal and an assist in Satuday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Comets, and each assisted on the other's goal. Reinhart is now just one point back of Ben Street for the team lead, while Granlund is also catching up. The Finnish centre is now fourth in team scoring with 30 points, just three back of Street in the log-jam for the team lead.

Olivier Roy was named runner-up for ECHL Goaltender of the Week last week with a 2-0 record and a .960 SV%. He lost his last start when Alaska dropped a 4-3 decision to the Colorado Eagles on Friday evening. The Aces are first in their division with 25 wins and 53 points through 38 games thus far.

Who's Not

Pretty much everyone else.

The Standings

Despite managing just three wins in the month of January, the Heat remain in second place in the North Division with 26 wins and 56 points in 44 games. The Texas Stars have some breathing room at the top of the division with 59 points through the same number of games. The Stars lost 4-1 to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday night, who are currently holding down the top spot in the Western Conference with 60 points.

The Stars get another kick at the can tomorrow night versus the San Antonio Rampage.

Upcoming Games

The Heat take on the Hamilton Bulldogs in back-to-back games this weekend. The last time Abbotsford played the Bulldogs, they lost both games in regulation by a combined score of 5-2 at the beginning of January. Sven Baertschi and Markus Granlund scored the only goals for the Heat in that back-to-back miniseries, and Baertschi is one player who would certainly like to rediscover his scoring touch this weekend.

The Bulldogs are currently sitting in 10th place in the Western Conference with 20 wins and 44 points, 12 points back of the Heat. Captain Martin St. Pierre leads Hamilton in scoring with eight goals and 28 points through 39 games, followed by 2009 Habs first-rounder Louis Leblanc, who has scored nine times and added 11 assists in 36 contests so far this season.

Leblanc was re-assigned to the Bulldogs earlier today. He has no points in eight games with Montreal this season.

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