Landon Ferraro and the Grand Rapids dealt the Abbotsford Heat‘s fading playoff hopes another blow on Friday, beating the hosts 4-1 at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.
Ferraro notched two goals and an assist for the Midwest Division-leading Griffins, who raced out to a 3-0 lead in the second period, prompting Heat head coach Troy Ward to give starting goalie Barry Brust the hook in favour of Danny Taylor.
Taylor stopped all 18 shots Grand Rapids directed his way, and Krys Kolanos got the Heat on the board with a power-play goal at 11:16 of the third.
But Tomas Jurco scored into an empty net with 1:36 remaining to seal the victory for the Griffins, who out-shot Abbotsford 38-23.
Grand Rapids captain Jeff Hoggan, a Hope native, also scored, while Petr Mrazek made 22 saves for his 22nd win of the season.
The Heat (31-30-10, 72 points) sit 11th in the Western Conference, three points back of the Chicago Wolves for the eighth and final playoff berth. But Chicago has four games in hand, and Abbotsford has just five regular season games remaining.
The Heat and Griffins (40-23-6, 86 points) clash again on Saturday (7 p.m., AESC). Ledgeview Golf and Country Club is the game sponsor, presenting special guest and local golf star James Lepp, who will take part in the ceremonial puck drop.