ABB 2 UTI 4
Utica, NY – The Abbotsford Heat lost to the Utica Comets (AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks) 4-2 on Wednesday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Heat remain in first place in the Western Conference with a 20-8-1-1 record and 42 points.
The Comets scored two goals in the opening period and did not relinquish their lead all game. Joacim Eriksson’s 26 saves and Patrick Mullen's two goals was the difference for the Comets. The Heat were without Ben Street (flu) and Michael Ferland (lower body injury), but Sven Baertschi made his Heat debut.
In the opening period, the Comets got on the board first on a goal from Kellan Lain at 14:55. Less than two minutes later, Patrick Mullen made it 2-0 Utica, which ended Joni Ortio’s night as Joey MacDonald came on relief. Shots on goal were 11-9 in favour of the Heat.
Both teams exchanged goals in the second period. Brett Olson cut the deficit to one with his sixth goal of the season, assisted by Max Reinhart and Chad Billins at 7:13. At 10:45, The Comets restored their two goal lead on a five on three power play goal from Mullen, which was his second of the game.
With the Heat down 3-1 in the final minutes, Alex Biega scored an empty net goal at 19:02 to give the Comets their largest lead of the evening. Brady Lamb countered with a late power play goal with 22 seconds remaining, assisted by Dean Arsene and Carter Bancks.
The Heat were one out of five on the power play and killed off three of four penalties in the game.
Joey MacDonald was charged with the loss for the Abbotsford Heat as he turned away 17 of 18 shots while Joacim Eriksson picked up the win stopping 26 of 28 shots.
The Heat will play the Utica Comets (AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks) in a rematch on Friday night and then end their three game road trip against the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens) on Sunday. The Heat will return home for a post-Christmas series with the Oklahoma City Barons (AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers) on Friday December 27th and Saturday December 28th at the AESC (7:00PM). December 27th will feature a Legends of Hockey appearance by Oilers legend Grant Fuhr, with an autograph session on the AESC concourse at 6pm.