Abbotsford Heat Report: March 17th-23rd

Corban Knight's NHL stint ended on Monday as he was re-assigned to the Abbotsford Heat. - Derek Leung

The Heat finally snapped their eight game losing streak on the weekend, but not for long.

The Breakdown

After losing eight straight games, the Heat were finally victorious on Friday night with a 3-1 win over the Utica Comets. Their newfound success didn't last long, however, as they would lose to the Comets the very next day by the same score.

The Heat are slowly starting to receive their full compliment of players back as injured and absent Flames have finally began to return to the lineup. Max Reinhart and Corban Knight have both been returned to the Heat, who have also signed forward Kyle Ostrow.

Ostrow has bounced around between several AHL and ECHL teams in the past four years, and has spent the past two seasons with the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL. He has 27 goals and 63 points in 58 games this season prior to joining the Heat.

Abbotsford will now embark on a six-game road trip with stops in Hamilton, Utica and Toronto.

Who's Hot

Defenceman Derek Smith has a goal and two assists in his past two games, while Corey Locke also has a point in two straight. Locke has six goals and 39 points in 54 games with the Heat so far this season while Smith has five goals and 14 points in 20 games with Abbotsford.

Olivier Roy has started to bounce back a bit, making 27 saves on 28 shots in the Heat's 3-1 win over the Comets on Friday night, and stopping 31 of 34 pucks in a losing effort on Saturday.

Who's Not

While the Heat have been struggling as a whole lately, their once prolific scorers have really cooled off. Max Reinhart and Ben Street each have a goal to their names in Abbotsford's past two contests, but Chad Billins hasn't scored a point since March 9th and Sven Baertschi must be injured because he hasn't played since he scored a goal in the Heat's 4-3 overtime loss to the Texas Stars back on March 5th.

The Standings

The Heat remain in second place in the West division nine points clear of any of the three teams below them, but they have a lot of ground to make up on the first-place Stars. The Stars are now nine points ahead of Abbotsford and are ranked first in the AHL's Western Conference with 84 points. The Heat sit in fifth place in the conference with 75, two points back of the Chicago Wolves, but Chicago has two games in hand.

The Stars have won five of their past six and have back-to-back games against the Oklahoma City Barons coming up, which presents a bit of a dilemma for the Heat--the Stars winning means they increase their lead over Abbotsford, but it would also be nice if they could keep the Barons from gaining any ground on the Heat as they kick off what will likely be a challenging road trip.

Upcoming Games

The Heat take on the Hamilton Bulldogs tonight in the first of two games against Montreal's AHL affiliate. The Bulldogs are led by Martin St. Pierre, who has ten goals and 41 points in 57 games so far this season. Habs prospects Louis Leblanc and Nathan Beaulieu have 24 and 20 points on the season respectively while former Flames draftee Patrick Holland has five goals and 16 points through 48 games with Hamilton.

The Bulldogs are currently dead last in the AHL's Western Conference with 26 wins and 57 points in 61 games.

The Heat then take on the Marlies and pay back-to-back visits to the Comets before closing out their road trip with another stop in Toronto on March 30th.

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