Abbotsford Heat season, franchise finished

Bruce Bennett

Despite another Markus Granlund goal, the Heat were unable to rally back. They are out of the Calder Cup playoffs in the first round.

The Abbotsford Heat are done.

The franchise's final game came to a close as the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Heat 5-3, winning the series 3-1.

The Heat goals came from Shane O'Brien, Kane Lafranchise, and Markus Granlund. Joni Ortio stopped 31 of 35 shots for a .886 SV%.

A poor second period is ultimately what did the Heat in. They were outshot 16-8 in that period, and surrendered three of five goals (the fifth being an empty netter) in the middle frame. They were ultimately outshot 36-27.

This was the first game all series in which the Heat scored more than two goals.

The Heat put up a fight, and kept the game within a goal most of the time, but were unable to take the lead from the Griffins after their first goal. They had a chance late in the game when Petr Mrazek left his net and got caught in no man's land, and Max Reinhart and Granlund bore down on the puck, but Mrazek's defencemen were able to bail him out.

Markus Granlund may have proved himself the Heat's best forward in this game - he led the team with five shots on net - and over the course of the series. He finished with two goals and five points in four games, and led all Heat skaters with 17 shots on net. That, combined with his impressive, albeit brief, NHL stint may mean he's done in the minor leagues. It remains to be seen, but of all current Flames prospects, he's the one to watch out for.

This was a series that could have easily gone five games. The Heat, by all accounts, deserved to win game one, but suffered bad luck and the misfortune of running into one of the best AHL goalies when he was on his game. The Flames' farm team was unable to replicate their level of play from the first game, and ultimately lost.

But for now? The Heat are done. The franchise has run its course, and will be looking to find a new home, likely in Glens Falls, NY.

As for the Flames, their prospects' seasons are over. The only Flames players left to watch will be Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Backlund, and Jiri Hudler when all four go to Belarus to represent their countries at the 2014 World Championships in Belarus. The tournament runs from May 9-25. Once that's over, all we'll have left to really do is sit and wait for the draft.

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