The Abbotsford Heat host the Chicago Wolves (AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks) on Friday and Saturday night with two sellout crowds expected at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC). The Heat (17-10-3-4) sit six points clear of the Wolves (15-12-3-2) and hold sixth place in the AHL’s Western Conference with 41 points. The Wolves are outside of the playoff picture with 35 points.
The Heat play a familiar foe this weekend, by Saturday night Abbotsford will have played the Chicago Wolves five times over ten game span since December 19th. This weekend features the sixth and seventh games of the eight-game season series and the final action hosted at the AESC this season. The Heat are 2-2-0-1 against the Wolves this season, but have earned three of a possible four points on home ice.
Danny Taylor has won his last two starts for the Heat including a 3-2 decision in Chicago on December 29th. Taylor has allowed just three goals on 45 shots faced over the two wins. Taylor has combined with Barry Brust and Leland Irving to hold opponents to a league best 2.18 goals against per game. Matt Climie has gotten the bulk of the starts in the Chicago net since November 24th when Eddy Lack suffered an injury.
With the NHL lockout over, the teams’ roster on the ice is uncertain. Will both clubs play players that are destined for an NHL training camp on Sunday? The number of players from each AHL team participating in NHL training camps also remains in question.
The Heat are coming off a two-game set with the Rochester Americans that saw Abbotsford outshoot the visitors 81-48, but required a 3-1 win on Saturday to earn a series split. Ben Street had two goals and an assist in Saturday’s win that snapped a three game winless streak.
Chicago arrives in Abbotsford after beating the Oklahoma City Barons 6-3 on Sunday night. The game followed the departure of the Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz from the Barons as they prepare for Edmonton Oilers training camp. The Wolves and the Heat have played three one-goal games against each other in Chicago since December 19th, with two Chicago victories and all three contests settled in regulation.
The Heat will follow this weekend set with four home games next week. The Heat host the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens) on Tuesday and Wednesday before facing the Milwaukee Admirals the following Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
For more information on the team and to purchase tickets, visit www.AbbotsfordHeat.com or call 1 877 452-HEAT(4328).