Heat goalie Barry Brust posted a 29-save shutout against the Lake Erie Monsters on Wednesday

Heat goalie Barry Brust posted a 29-save shutout against the Lake Erie Monsters on Wednesday

Brust on the brink of history after third straight shutout

At this point, the last time Barry Brust allowed a goal is fading into distant memory.

At this point, the last time Barry Brust allowed a goal is fading into distant memory.

For the record, the last such occasion was at 8:19 of the first period on Oct. 20, when Chicago Wolves winger Zack Kassian walked in off the left wall and ripped a blocker-side wrist shot past the Abbotsford Heat netminder.

But Brust has been flawless since then – he bounced back from the Kassian goal to backstop the Heat to a 4-1 win that night, and he’s reeled off three straight shutouts in the aftermath.

The latest whitewashing came on Wednesday evening, as Brust turned aside all 29 pucks the Lake Erie Monsters sent his way in a 2-0 victory at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

His personal shutout streak now stands at 231 minutes, 41 seconds – approaching an AHL record more than a half-century old. The existing mark is 249:51, established by Hockey Hall of Famer Johnny Bower from Nov. 27 to Dec. 7, 1957 when he tended goal with the Cleveland Barons. So just one period separates Brust from the record.

“Barry’s on a bit of a roll right now, and he’s that type of goalie,” Heat head coach Troy Ward said. “When we were together in Houston (with the AHL’s Aeros, 2007-10), he oftentimes finds himself in these positions. I’m not shocked by Barry’s performance.

“He’s unorthodox, obviously – he’s out and plays the puck, so people feel he’s maybe a little vulnerable in some areas. But he’s very athletic, and he’s a very competitive man. I’m happy for him.”

Brust, for his part, said it feels nice to be on such a roll, but he felt he got “pretty lucky” in some respects on Wednesday.

“They hit three posts and missed an empty net,” noted Brust, who lowered his goals against average to 0.25 and boosted his save percentage to .991. “I’ve been fortunate, but I’ll take it, obviously.

“We were outshot there for a while, but I don’t think we gave up too much as far as chances go. It’s a pretty simple game when we’re playing defence the way that we are, and when we’re killing penalties the way we are.”

Wednesday’s win lifted the Heat into sole possession of first place overall in the AHL, with a 9-1-3 record for 21 points.

The Monsters carried the play in the first period, outshooting the Heat 11-5, and while they had some close calls, they were unable to put the puck in.

Early on, Lake Erie defenceman Stefan Elliott came barrelling down the right wing and ripped a wrist shot by Brust, but it clanged off the post.

Later, on a Monsters power play, Luke Walker took a cross-ice pass with Brust marooned at the far side of the cage. But Walker’s shot was directly at the Heat keeper, and it deflected off Brust, hit the crossbar and stayed out.

The visitors outshot the Heat 13-7 in the second period, but Abbotsford generated a couple of golden scoring chances of their own. Max Reinhart, on a goalmouth scramble, squeezed the puck past Monsters goalie Sami Aittokallio at left post. The puck sat tantalizingly in the crease, but no one wearing the white and red of the Heat was within range to poke it in, and Lake Erie cleared it out of harm’s way.

Abbotsford finally broke through at the 5:50 mark of the third period.

Carter Bancks got the play started, absorbing a cross-check at the top of the faceoff circle while still managing to ring the puck around the boards and into the corner. Ben Street tracked it down there, flicking a lovely touch pass on to Brett Olson, who was driving to the net and backhanded a shot over Aittokallio’s right pad.

Olson came into training camp on a tryout basis, but he earned an AHL contract and has quickly become an indispensable cog in the lineup. He’s posted two goals and five assists in 12 games while playing a strong two-way game.

“He’s been faced with those odds most of his life,” said Ward, who has known Olson since his junior hockey days with the Waterloo (Iowa) Black Hawks. “He plowed through juniors, he did a good job in four years of college, and now he’s doing a good job here. I’m real happy for Brett.”

Stay-at-home blueliner Chris Breen took an unlikely turn as a sniper to give the Heat some insurance. Krys Kolanos, from the corner in the offensive zone, threw the puck to the front of the net, but it went all the way through to Breen at the left point. The towering 6’7″ defenceman walked in and coolly picked the top corner to make it 2-0.

“He must have blacked out,” Brust cracked. “It was a beautiful shot. He did a great job.”

Breen, who was on the ice for both Heat goals, boasts a team-leading +12 rating, and he’s found a home on the left side of a defensive pairing with Steve McCarthy. Ward said he’s “playing like a real man right now,” and deserved to be rewarded with his first goal of the campaign.

“He toe-dragged the puck around somebody like a week ago, and we had to show that in the team meeting – that was a first,” Ward said with a chuckle. “Now he’s added a snipe in there. He’s kind of coming into his own.”


• Five of Olson’s seven points this season have come in four games against the Monsters.

• Heat captain Quintin Laing drew the short straw in the veteran equation on Wednesday, as defenceman Joe Callahan got back into the lineup at his expense. To balance things out position-wise, blueliner Zach McKelvie was also scratched, while centre Max Reinhart was back in.

• The Heat hit the road for their longest trip of the season to date – a five-game swing, beginning Friday at the Rochester Americans.

“We’ve got to take that next step … to become more cohesive,” noted Ward, whose team has played 10 of its first 13 games on home ice.

“I look forward to getting on the road with this group and kind of relaxing and getting in some good practices. I think you find out a lot about your team then.”

Just Posted

An apartment building and townhouse project has been proposed at 2236 McCallum Rd. in Abbotsford. The development was given third reading by city council on June 14. (City of Abbotsford)
Apartment-and-townhouse project planned on McCallum Road in Abbotsford

Development across from old hospital site consists of 174 suites and 10 townhouses

Adam Hobbs went missing from a Langley work site on Monday, June 14 and may have gone to Vancouver. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Family, RCMP seek Abbotsford man missing from Langley job site

Adam Hobbs lives in Abbotsford and is a minor hockey referee

Police were on scene Monday afternoon (June 14) in the area of George Ferguson Way and Ware Street. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Police called out after reports of possible home invasion in Abbotsford

Incident on Monday afternoon at George Ferugson Way and Ware Street

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

The Vancouver Canucks have polled season ticket holders on team name options for the new Abbotsford AHL team.
Vancouver Canucks poll season tickets holders on Abbotsford AHL team name

List asks fans to rank three out of 10 options, also if Abbotsford or Fraser Valley should be used

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Most Read