Abbotsford Heat Report: March 24th-31st

Defenceman Derek Smith hasn't played an NHL game in a while, but he's on a roll with the Abbotsford Heat. - Jeff Gross

The Heat are 1-2-0 through the first half of their six-game road trip with three games left to play.

The Breakdown

The Heat played three games this week, two in Hamilton and one in Toronto.

They lost the first game 3-1 to the Hamilton Bulldogs and then beat the same team 5-1 on Saturday night, before falling 3-2 to the Toronto Marlies the next day.

Now that the Heat have goalie Joni Ortio back after he was re-assigned to the Heat following the Flames' 6-5 loss to the Nashville Predators on Friday, goalie Aaron Dell has been released by the team. Dell had a record of 1-2-0 with the Heat, but appeared in six games for the team with a .922 SV%. His first and only win came on Saturday in Hamilton, where he stopped 37 of 37 Bulldogs shots.

Abbotsford also assigned forward Brendan Connolly to the Alaska Aces today. Connolly played in six games with the Heat, scoring a goal and an assist. The Canmore native has been scoring at a point-per-game basis in Alaska this season, with 20 goals and 46 points in 46 ECHL games.


Who's Hot

Sven Baertschi is back for the Heat, and the forward has one goal and one assist in his past three games since returning from his mysterious absence from the team.

Corey Locke has two goals and an assist in his past three contests while Max Reinhart has also been scoring at a point-per-game pace recently.

Derek Smith continues to put up points as well; the defenceman has three assists in his past three games for Abbotsford.

Who's Not

Scoring has been fairly spread out for the Heat recently, and it doesn't appear that any of their best players are in the midst of horrible dry spells at the moment. Corban Knight continues to struggle somewhat since returning to Abbotsford, as the centre has just one assist in his past three games.

The Standings

The Heat still sit comfortable in second place in the West division, but have fallen to fifth place in the Western Conference as the Chicago Wolves have again overtaken them.

The Texas Stars continue to build up their lead at the top of the division and the top of the conference; the Stars are now well in front of Abbotsford with 92 points, four points up on the Grand Rapids Griffins in the conference standings.

The Heat still have a four-point lead on the Milwaukee Admirals with 77 points, but the Admirals have two games in hand on Abbotsford, so the Heat will really have to make the last three games of their current road trip count.

Upcoming Games

The Heat have three games remaining in their six-game road trip before they return home to take on the Rockford Ice Hogs on April 4th. It will be a very busy weekend for Abbotsford, as they take on the Utica Comets in back-to-back games this Friday and Saturday before wrapping up their road trip with another game against the Marlies on Sunday afternoon.

Led by Spencer Abbott (17-52-69 in 61 GP) and T.J. Brennan (21-40-61 in 64 GP), the Marlies currently sit in third place in the Western Conference, six points up on the Heat with two games in hand.

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