Chris Breen scored just eight seconds into overtime to lift the Abbotsford Heat to a 1-0 road win over the Texas Stars on Friday evening.
Off the centre-ice faceoff to begin the extra session, Heat winger Sven Baertschi corralled the puck and drove to the net. His initial shot was stopped by Stars goalie Cristopher Nilstorp, but blueliner Breen (pictured below) followed up to deposit the rebound into the back of the net.
Until Breen’s tally, Nilstorp and Heat netminder Danny Taylor had staged an unyielding goaltenders’ duel.
Nilstorp was the busier of the two – Abbotsford out-shot the hosts 29-19, owning in part to an 8-5 edge in power plays. None of those man advantages yielded a goal, though. The Stars snuffed each and every Heat power play, while Abby’s league-leading penalty kill unit was also flawless, boosting its efficiency rating to 93.8 per cent on the season.
Taylor picked up his second shutout of the season, lowering his goals against average to 1.48 and boosting his save percentage to .944. His GAA is tops in the league, though it’s not even the best on his own team – Barry Brust boasts a 0.25 mark, but with just four starts, he hasn’t played enough to qualify him for the league rankings.
Abbotsford (11-2-3, 25 points) is first in the North Division, and they’re just one point back of the Charlotte Checkers for first place in the Western Conference and the overall AHL standings with a game in hand.
• The Heat wrap up their five-game road trip with games against the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday and the Houston Aeros on Sunday.