HEAT VS COMETS
The Abbotsford Heat are looking to extend their four game winning record this weekend as they take on the new Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate Utica Comets. The Heat are home from a seven game road trip, where they went 6-1-0-0, and remain firmly in first place in the American Hockey League with 35 points in 23 games.
Utica has been struggling in their inaugural AHL season, with only four wins and 10 points through 17 games and sitting 15th (last) place in the AHL Western Conference. The Abbotsford Heat and the Utica Comets have played each other twice this season, with Abbotsford taking both wins in upstate New York. This weekend's pair of games are the first of six games where the Heat will host the Comets.
The Heat have had a tremendous rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks’ affiliate, starting with the Heat’s inaugural 2009-10 season when the Canucks' were affiliated with the Manitoba Moose. During the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons, Abbotsford went 4-7-2-3 against the Moose in regular season play.
In 2011, the Canucks moved their AHL franchise to Chicago, after the Moose became the St. John’s IceCaps and the Winnipeg Jets rejoined the NHL. In 2011/12 and 2012/13, the Heat played to a 6-7-0-2 record against the Wolves.
In June 2013, the Canucks moved their affiliate to the newly launched Utica Comets while the Wolves began an affiliation with the St. Louis Blues. The Heat and Comets have played three times this season, including one preseason game in Abbotsford and two regular season games in Utica. Abbotsford has won all three meetings so far, with a 5-2 preseason victory, 5-4 and 4-3 wins in Utica on October 30th and November 1st.
The Abbotsford Heat have a lifetime record of 12-14-2-6 against the Canucks’ AHL affiliate.
Utica's key players to watch this weekend include Frankie Corrado, Nicklas Jensen, Darren Archibald, Zach Hamill, and Joacim Eriksson.
Corrado is a 20 year old defensive prospect. Born in Toronto, Corrado played junior hockey for the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Sudbury Wolves and Kitchener Rangers, and was drafted in the fifth round by Vancouver in 2011. Corrado played in seven games with Vancouver last season, including four playoff games, and has four points in 17 games with Utica this year.
Nicklas Jensen was a first round draft pick of the Canucks in 2011. The Denmark native played in the OHL for the Oshawa Generals, where he averaged a point per game in both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. Jensen played in two games with the Canucks last year, and has two points in 11 games with Utica this season.
Darren Archibald is a left winger with size and strength. The 23 year old is 6’3” and 212 pounds, and in nine games this season with Utica has generated four points (2+2) and 27 PIMs. Darren also played eight games with Vancouver this year, recording two assists.
Vancouver, BC native Zach Hamill will also be one to watch this weekend for the Comets. Hamill was drafted 8th overall in 2007 by the Boston Bruins after an impressive career with the Everett Silvertips in the WHL. He has been a solid contributor to the Utica Comets' efforts this season, with eight points in 15 games. Collectively, Zach has 186 points (66+120) in 336 career AHL games.
Joacim Eriksson is a 6’2”, 196 pound goalie from Gavle, Sweden. Eriksson was a draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2008, and was signed by the Canucks as a free agent in 2013. Prior to joining Utica, Eriksson played four seasons in the Swedish Elite League (SEL) with Brynas and Skelleftea. This year with the Comets, Eriksson has a record of 4-9-1-1 with a 2.88 goals against average and .902 save percentage.
Fans are encouraged to purchase the Comets package, including two tickets to each Friday or each Saturday game against the Comets this season. The Comets package starts at $81, call 1-877-452-HEAT (4238) to purchase yours today.