Abbotsford Heat forward Ryan Howse pushes the puck up-ice against the Houston Aeros.

Abbotsford Heat forward Ryan Howse pushes the puck up-ice against the Houston Aeros.

Fontaine, Aeros soar past Heat

A pair of first-period power play goals by Justin Fontaine paced the Houston Aeros past the Abbotsford Heat 4-1 on Tuesday evening.

A pair of first-period power play goals by Justin Fontaine paced the Houston Aeros past the Abbotsford Heat 4-1 on Tuesday evening.

Jeff Taffe and Jon DiSalvatore chipped in with second-period tallies as the Aeros knocked off the Heat for just the second time in seven games this season.

Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond accounted for the Heat’s lone goal with a shorthanded marker at 1:25 of the third period, and Abbotsford goalie Leland Irving took the loss after allowing four goals on 27 shots.

The defeat left the Heat (32-25-3-3) outside the AHL’s Western Conference playoff picture for the first time this season. They’re currently in ninth place, but remarkably, they’re just one point back of the fourth-place Chicago Wolves in the crowded conference standings.

The Heat continue their Texas road trip with stops at the San Antonio Rampage (Friday), Houston (Saturday) and the Texas Stars (Monday).

• The Heat are set to receive some reinforcements up front, as Krys Kolanos was reassigned to Abbotsford by the NHL parent Calgary Flames late Tuesday evening. Kolanos has 19 goals and 23 assists in 36 games with the Heat this season.