After a rough January where the Heat only won three games, the Heat redeemed themselves with back-to-back wins last weekend and started February off with a bang.
Quite literally. The Heat played back-to-back games versus the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday and Saturday, and defeated them on both occasions by a combined score of 10-1.
The Heat also defeated the Charlotte Checkers last night by a score of 7-1 on Tuesday night.
Ahead of last night's game, the Heat also re-assigned forward Turner Elson to the Alaska Aces and released forward Evan Trupp from his professional try-out agreement with the team. Trupp will also join the Aces.
Elson had just two goals in 30 games with the Heat this season, while Trupp scored once and added three assists in seven games.
The team also announced the signing of goaltender Thomas Heenskerk. Heenskerk previously played with the Worcester Sharks, but spent the majority of his time in the ECHL last season with the San Francisco Bulls. In 38 games with the Bulls, he was 14-17-3 in those games with a .906 SV%. Heenskerk also played 16 games this season with the Quad City Mallards of the Central Hockey League. The Heat likely signed Heemskerk because Joni Ortio was called up by the Flames after Karri Ramo injured his knee in Saturday night's game against the Minnesota Wild. Ramo will likely be out until the end of the month.
The Flames also re-assigned forward Ben Street to the Heat on Monday. Street has one assist in 13 games with the Flames this season.
Sven Baertschi is back, ladies and gentlemen! Well, almost. The forward has points in three consecutive games, which is big news for a player who hadn't scored in almost a month.
Corban Knight had two goals and an assist in Friday's 6-0 rout of the Bulldogs and a goal and two assists in last night's win, while Blair Jones also scored twice in the first half of back-to-back contests versus Hamilton.
Max Reinhart collected two assists while Markus Granlund added a goal and an assist of his own as each forward continued to contribute toward their growing point totals.
Granlund and Reinhart also scored when the Heat beat the Bulldogs 4-1 on Saturday night, and both found the back of the net in last night's win over the Checkers as well.
Josh Jooris also has goals in three consecutive games for the Heat.
Goalie Olivier Roy made 25 saves for the victory in his first game with the Heat since being recalled from Alaska.
Ben Hanowski still hasn't scored a point since December 28th, and has now been a healthy scratch for the past two games.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AHLHeat&src=hash">#AHLHeat</a> & Hamilton Bulldogs about to get underway. Enforcer Trevor Gillies set to make his Heat debut; Ben Hanowski a healthy scratch.</p>— Dan Kinvig (@DanKinvig) <a href="https://twitter.com/DanKinvig/statuses/429812099720568832">February 2, 2014</a></blockquote>
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He did have his first AHL fight in a lopsided blowout though, so I guess there's that.
The Heat's winning streak has vaulted them over the Texas Stars and allowed them to finally reclaim first place in the North Division and second place in the Western Conference with 62 points. The Stars have lost two straight games, both to the Oklahoma City Barons, by a combined score of 12-6.
The Heat play the Stars twice in back-to-back games on Satuday and Sunday, an important stretch for both teams as they compete for some breathing room in their division.
The Heat have a busy week ahead of them. In the midst of a six-game homestand, Abbotsford takes on the Charlotte Checkers again tomorrow night before two contests against the Texas Stars this weekend. No matter what happens in the next three games, we know the Heat will hit the road with at least a .500 record during this stretch after winning the first three games at home.
Next Friday, the Heat hit the road for games against the Checkers, Admirals and Wolves before returning home on the 28th.