Since last week's edition of the Abbotsford Heat Report, the Heat have played twice, earning one win and one loss. Joey MacDonald was in net for the Heat for their 5-0 loss to the Texas Stars back on January 10th, although he still made 38 saves in a game where the Stars fired 43 shots at the Abbotsford goal.
The next night, however, the Heat would bounce bak for a 3-2 overtime win over the San Antonio Rampage.
Joni Ortio made 31 saves for the victory, while Ben Street, Josh Jooris and Chad Billins scored for Abbotsford. Brady Lamb, Tyler Wotherspoon, Max Reinhart and Markus Granlund also picked up assists in that contest, and Wotherspoon was on the ice for all three Heat goals.
In other news, the Alaska Aces have loaned forward Evan Trupp to the Heat. Trupp has 10 goals and 30 points in 33 games with Abbotsford's ECHL affiliate this season.
It's all about Max Reinhart lately and for good reason--Reinhart has quietly climbed up to the top of the stat chart in Abbotsford, and now finds himself tied for fourth in team scoring with seven goals and 25 points in 32 games. The forward has been scoring at a point-per-game pace for the past month:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Hey all y'all, read up on how Max Reinhart has been this season. He's currently got 13 points in his last 13 games. <a href="http://t.co/SUIIC6Go2f">http://t.co/SUIIC6Go2f</a></p>— Mike Cadarette (@MCaddd) <a href="https://twitter.com/MCaddd/statuses/422892048140627968">January 14, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Reinhart's play of late has also earned him the confidence of head coach Troy G. Ward, who has been using Max in all situations, including top line minutes, top powerplay minutes and on the penalty kill, according to the Flames' official website.
It had been a frustrating start to the season for Reinhart, who was held pointless in the four games he played for the Flames in November, but the 2010 third-round pick has already amassed more points through 32 games this season than he did in all of 2012-13, his first season with the Heat. With Mike Cammalleri out of the lineup with a concussion, Reinhart is making it very hard for Flames brass to ignore him.
I don't want to pick on him too much considering there's only so much a goalie can do when he faces 40+ shots in a game, but after a reasonably good start with the Heat, Joey MacDonald has continued to deliver a below-average performance of late.
Sven Baertschi has been held pointless since collecting an assist in Abbotsford's 5-1 loss to the Rampage on January 7th, and Reinhart's surge has put him on par with Ben Hanowski, who is pointless since December 28th.
With their 5-0 loss to the Texas Stars, the Heat have fallen to second place in their division with 50 points, one point back of the aforementioned Stars, The Stars also have a game in hand, although the Heat have one more win.
Since being bumped by the Stars, the Heat have also fallen to fourth place in the Western Conference.
The Heat hit the road for three times this week with an early game against the Rockford Ice Hogs today and back-to-back games versus the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday and Saturday. The Griffins have taken over first place in the Western Conference with 53 points in 38 games while the Ice Hogs are currently in eighth place in the West with 41 points.
The Griffins are led by Red Wings prospect Tomas Jurco, who has 13 goals and 32 points in 32 games with Grand Rapids, and was recalled by the Wings last night. Teemu Pulkkinen, the team's second leading scorer, hasn't been bad either, with 13 goals and 30 points in 38 games.