Abbotsford Heat vs. Hamilton Bulldogs - Sunday, October 28, 2012
Special Teams Report
The Heat continued their strong short-handed play last night, going six-for-six to remain atop the AHL’s penalty-kill ranking with an impressive 25-for-25 record. Carter Bancks added the Heat’s first PK goal of the 2012-13 campaign on Friday night. So far this season, the Heat are 6-for-21 with the man advantage, third in the AHL. Last season the Heat ranked 19th of 30 on the power play and 10th on the penalty kill.
Roman Horak continued his point streak in the second of three games in three days for the Heat, chipping in with an assist for a total of seven points so far in the 2012-13 campaign. Horak has scored six goals in six games this season, which leaves him tied for first in the league in goals scored. The Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic product made the Calgary Flames squad out of camp last season, suiting up for 61 games.
Heat newcomer Joe Callahan is returning to Hamilton to play his former teammates from last season. Callahan’s single season with the Bulldogs saw the 6’3”, 215 lbs defender collect 20 points in 60 games. The Abington, Massachusetts native has played a total of 515 AHL regular season games over the course of ten seasons, and is one of six veterans on the Heat squad. Callahan recorded an impressive 12 points in 18 playoff games during the Portland Pirate’s 2008 playoff run, good for fifth in scoring among defencemen. Speaking about returning to Copps Coliseum as a member of the visiting squad, Callahan said: “We all do it, that’s part of the business, we all move places and play former teammates and former coaches, but I’m looking forward to it.”
3’s a Crowded Crease
The Heat squad is not lacking in the goaltending department this season, carrying three experienced netminders: “It’s great when you have three guys you can go to,” said Goaltending Coach Jordan Sigalet. Danny Taylor started in the Heat’s first three games of the season, stopping 70 of 76 shots (0.921 SVS %), and backstopping the Heat to a 2-0-0-1 start. Taylor started in seven of eight games during the Heat’s 2011-12 playoff campaign, carrying a 2.26 GAA and 0.917 SVS %. Barry Brust, who played last season with the Straubing Tigers of the German Ice Hockey League, stopped 25 of 26 shots in his first win with the Heat as they took on the Chicago Wolves. Calgary’s first-round draft pick from 2006 (26th overall), Leland Irving, has yet to suit up for the Heat in 2012-13. He led the AHL in minutes played (3437) and shutouts (8) in 2010-11, and also earned team MVP honours. In 2011-12, Irving played 39 games with the Heat, and seven games for the Calgary Flames, earning his first NHL win in Vancouver on December 23rd, 2011 with a 3-1 victory. Irving played in both of the Heat’s first two games of 2011-12 in Cleveland, allowing only one goal against on 41 shots. Asked about whether three games in three days is an opportunity to rotate the netminders, Goaltending Coach Jordan Sigalet said: “Three in three is tough, so we’re going to try and get all the guys into the mix.” Taylor backstopped the Heat to a 5-3 win against Lake Erie on Friday, stopping 30 of 33 shots. Leland Irving made his first start of the season on Saturday, stopping 30 of 33 shots in regulation, and four of six in the shootout in the Heat’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Monsters.
After scoring three goals in five NHL games with the Calgary Flames, and averaging two points per game for Portland of the WHL last season, expectations are high for first-round draft pick Sven Baertschi. But Baertschi has not disappointed in his first six games with the Heat, recording three goals and five assists. The Swiss product has looked at home with linemates Ben Walter, who marked his 500th AHL game earlier this season, and Dustin Sylvester, who was named the Heat’s Top Rookie in 2011-12. Head Coach Troy G. Ward has been impressed with Baertschi’s play thus far, “He really understands where to go and how to get the puck and, when he has it, he certainly knows where to put it. He makes other players around him special.”