Heat lack spark in shutout loss to Bruins

For a team that's fighting to stay in the playoff chase, the Abbotsford Heat offered precious little resistance against the Providence Bruins on Friday evening.

Heat goalie Leland Irving stopped Providence’s Matt Bartkowski on this play

Heat goalie Leland Irving stopped Providence’s Matt Bartkowski on this play

For a team that’s fighting to stay in the playoff chase, the Abbotsford Heat offered precious little resistance against the Providence Bruins on Friday evening.The best that could be said of the Heat was, at least they were consistent. The local AHLers struggled from opening faceoff to final whistle against the Bruins – a team that came into Friday’s action four games under .500 – en route to a comprehensive 4-0 loss before 3,815 unimpressed fans at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre. “At this time of year, there’s no excuse,” Heat captain Quintin Laing said after emerging from a lengthy players-only meeting.”We were just crap tonight. We didn’t do anything right. It was a total team effort of just not being ready to battle and execute the game plan the coaches gave us. “It was totally on the players. All 20 guys tonight didn’t get it done.”Providence goalie Michael Hutchinson posted his first career AHL shutout, and he had a relatively easy time of it. He stopped all 30 shots the Heat directed his way, and few of those were of the high-quality variety.”They got 30 shots, but I’d say 90 per cent of them at least were from the outside,” the Bruins keeper said. “You can’t ask for more from your team.”Hutchinson’s Abbotsford counterpart Leland Irving had a second straight sub-par outing. He got the hook just past the midway point of the second period after allowing three goals on 17 shots. The Bruins put their stamp on the game from the start, registering nine of the first 11 shots. One of those, off the stick of Maxime Sauve, found the back of the net. Sauve capitalized on a defensive-zone turnover and snapped a low stick-side shot past Irving. Kirk MacDonald and Sauve, with his second of the game, tallied in the second period to chase Irving in favour of J.P. Lamoureux.Jordan Caron rounded out the scoring with 3:42 remaining, one-timing a slap shot past Lamoureux.Port Coquitlam native Zach Hamill, playing in front of a group of more than 20 family member and friends, picked up an assist on Caron’s goal. “I thought that was one of our better games of the year,” Hamill said. “We scored early, and we kept going from there.”The Heat (27-24-3-5) are fifth in the AHL’s North Division following their third straight loss, while Providence (26-29-3-2) is sixth in the Atlantic Division.ICE CHIPS:• Ryan MacMurchy, signed to a tryout contract earlier in the week, made his Heat debut on Friday. He skated on the fourth line with Gaelan Patterson and Stefan Meyer.• The Heat get a second crack at the Bruins on Saturday (7 p.m., AESC).