Heat winger Jon Rheault celebrates his first-period goal.

Bouma’s bank shot boosts Heat past Stars

There's something about playing the Texas Stars that seems to jive with Lance Bouma's rambunctious nature.

There’s something about playing the Texas Stars that seems to jive with Lance Bouma’s rambunctious nature.

Of the six points the Abbotsford Heat’s rough-and-tumble left winger has amassed this season, four have come in the four games he’s played against the Dallas Stars’ top affiliate.

Bouma stung the Stars again on Friday evening, banking a shot from behind the goal line off the back of netminder Jimmy Spratt and into the cage at 5:32 of the third period. The goal stood up as the game-winner in the Heat’s 2-1 victory at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

“Booms matches up personality-wise against them,” Heat head coach Troy Ward analyzed afterward, alluding to the fact the Stars boast a stable of physical forwards in the Bouma mould. “He seems to thrive in that environment, because of the way he plays and his reckless abandon at times.

“If this was the ’70s and I could take him to a bar and play bumper pool with him right now, I’d take him. Because we’d probably win. That was a heck of a shot (on the game-winner).”

Friday’s win capped a two-game sweep of the Stars (the Heat also won 5-3 on Thursday), and allowed Abbotsford (22-9-2-0, 46 points) to move into a tie for first place overall in the AHL with the Oklahoma City Barons. The Barons, one of the Heat’s West Division rivals, have a game in hand.

Texas (14-16-0-1, 29 points) remains mired in last place in the West, despite out-shooting the Heat in both games.

The Stars opened the scoring Friday with a power-play goal at 3:35 of the first, as Stephen Schultz found the puck in a goalmouth scramble and jammed it between the pads of Heat goalie Danny Taylor.

Just 28 seconds later, Krys Kolanos and Jon Rheault combined on a pretty goal to level the score. Kolanos spotted his speedy linemate streaking up the middle and hit him in stride with a pass. Rheault finished by tucking the puck inside the post on a backhand-forehand deke.

The Stars had the bulk of the scoring chances in the middle frame, but the Heat came the closest to scoring. Ben Walter’s harmless-looking wrist shot on the rush found its way between Spratt’s legs, but the puck dribbled out the other side.

Bouma’s game-winner represented the second time in two games the Heat managed to score on a bank shot from behind the net. On Thursday, it was Akim Aliu chipping it in off Stars keeper Tyler Beskorowany. On Friday, it was Bouma doing the deed.

“It’s not something we really work on, but those are goals we’ll take,” Bouma said with a grin. “I knew the goalie couldn’t get back there quick enough, so I just tried to throw it on net as quick as possible.”

Spratt, a former Calgary Flames draft choice (seventh round, 2004) who was never signed by the Heat’s NHL parent club, excelled on Friday aside from the unlucky bounce on the Bouma goal.

The 26-year-old keeper, making just his second career AHL start, said that showing well against the organization that drafted him was “in the back of his mind.”

“But more importantly, I just wanted to continue to make a good impression on the guys here (with the Stars),” he noted.

The Heat’s penalty kill came up huge in the third period, snuffing two late Stars power plays. The man-disadvantage unit killed eight of nine Texas power plays over the two games, with Schultz’s early strike on Friday the lone blemish.

“I think they were pretty disappointed with that first one,” said Ward, whose team is ranked second in the AHL on the PK with an 86.5 success rate. “It was like, they’d worked so hard to understand what the team was going to do, and they kind of felt like they gave up an easy one.

“I felt the difference in the game after the first goal was based on pressure. I thought we got to pressure areas, got on them a little quicker and didn’t give them as much time.”

Joe Piskula, reassigned to the Heat on Friday morning after spending the past three-plus weeks with the Flames, handled a heavy workload in his return. The steady stay-at-home blueliner logged 22:44 of ice time, third-most on the team, trailing only Brendan Mikkelson (24:07) and Rheault (23:34).

Piskula performed well under less-than-ideal conditions – he’d gotten up at 5:45 a.m. Eastern time to catch a five-and-a-half-hour flight from Ottawa (where the Flames played Friday) to rejoin the Heat, and only arrived back in Abbotsford in the afternoon.

“It was rough, actually,” Piskula said with a chuckle, reflecting on his travel odyssey. “It took me a while to get my game legs going, but it felt good. I’ve just got to keep building on that.”

Ward noted that Piskula had to introduce himself to a half-dozen new players when he returned – the Heat having undergone a roster makeover due to injury and recall absences.

“He was coming back to a whole different team,” Ward noted with a wry grin. “It was nice to have Joe back, because Joe’s an infectious guy. He might be one of the nicest people in the world.”

Piskula said the biggest adjustment in returning to the AHL is dealing with a more helter-skelter style of play – NHL teams play their systems so well, the play is somewhat more predictable and easier to read.

Ward concurred with Piskula’s take.

“Playing in the National Hockey League is easier than playing here,” the Heat bench boss said. “This was like a Chinese fire drill out there for that kid out there tonight. And over the last month, he’s been used to playing chess.”

ICE CHIPS:

• Two of Bouma’s former Vancouver Giants acquaintances, head coach Don Hay and forward Brendan Gallagher, are currently chasing gold at the World Junior Championship with Team Canada. Bouma said he exchanged texts with both Hay and Gallagher prior to the tournament to wish them luck.

• Heat captain Quintin Laing sat out Friday with a lower-body injury, with Justin Dowling drawing into the lineup in his place. In Laing’s absence, the Heat did not designate a captain; rather, Mikkelson wore an ‘A’, along with regular alternates Piskula and Guillaume Desbiens.

• The Heat now have a week off between games, before returning to action on home ice on Friday against the Grand Rapids Griffins (7 p.m., AESC).

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

A group of Abbotsford secondary principals’s and vice-principals are at a retreat in Whistler this weekend. (Whistler.com photo)
Abbotsford principals attending retreat in Whistler despite COVID-19 gathering restrictions

Unclear how reported group of 20 will be following COVID-19 protocols during Whistler Pro-D event

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of Abbotsford student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Fraser South region has doubled in the last two weeks. The number of cases in the Fraser East region has tripled.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
COVID-19 surge in B.C. fuelled by spikes in new cases in Fraser Valley & Surrey area

Number of newly confirmed cases has tripled in Fraser Valley and doubled in the Surrey/Langley area

John Redekop, with wife Doris, was the 2019 recipient of the Betty Urquhart Community Service Award from UFV. (Photo courtesy of UFV)
Nominations open until Oct. 30 for UFV’s Betty Urquhart Awards

Award recognizes ‘significant impact’ of volunteer work by an individual or group

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read