One night after getting the hook against the Oklahoma City Barons, Reto Berra got back between the pipes and sparkled for the Abbotsford Heat.
The 26-year-old Swiss stopper was stellar on Saturday night, turning aside 29 of 30 shots in regulation/overtime and four more in the shootout en route to first star honours as the Heat salvaged a split of their two-game set in Oklahoma City with a 2-1 triumph.
The Barons had chased Berra on Friday night, pumping four pucks past him in just over one period of action before Heat head coach Troy Ward removed him in favour of Laurent Brossoit. Abbotsford mounted a rally, but would ultimately fall 4-3.
Saturday’s rematch remained scoreless for almost the entirety of the first two periods, but the hosts would break the ice with just one second left in the middle frame. Joel Broda did the honours, scoring a buzzer-beater to send his team to the dressing room with a 1-0 lead.
It took the Heat until the final minute of regulation to notch the equalizer, and it was Paul Bryon continuing his excellent start to the season, poking a rebound past Barons goalie Richard Bachman with 39 seconds left. Markus Granlund and Chris Breen picked up assists on the play.
Byron, who now leads the Heat in scoring with six points (one goal, five assists) in six games, had the best chance in overtime, but was denied on a breakaway by Bachman.
The Heat were successful on their first two shootout attempts, as Chad Billins and Granlund scored. Berra, meanwhile, stopped four of five, with Derek Nesbitt the lone OKC shooter to solve him.
The Heat (3-2-1) wrap up their three-game-in-three-days road trip on Sunday at the Texas Stars.