Former Abbotsford Heat defenceman Brian Connelly haunted his old team on Thursday, scoring twice to pace the Houston Aeros to a 4-1 victory.
Connelly, who spent the second half of last season in Heat silks after arriving in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks for Brendan Morrison, notched power-play goals late in the first period and midway through the second to stake the host Aeros to a 2-0 lead.
Goals by Zack Phillips and Jake Dowell would make it 4-0, before Heat forward Mike Testwuide finally got his team on the board with just 14 seconds remaining in regulation.
Testwuide spoiled Darcy Kuemper’s shutout, but the Aeros goalie was full value for the victory, turning aside 33 of 34 shots on the night. Abbotsford was dominant in the shots-on-goal department over the last two periods, out-shooting Houston 29-12, but had nothing to show for it aside from Testwuide’s late tally.
Barry Brust took the loss for the Heat, allowing four goals on 24 shots.
It’s been a trying stretch for the Heat, who have lost 13 of their last 15 games and now find themselves decisively on the wrong side of the playoff bubble. Abbotsford (28-27-9, 65 points) sits ninth in the Western Conference, and has played at least two more games than every other team.
The Heat wrap up their seven-game road trip on Sunday, when they visit the San Antonio Rampage.