Heat forward Quintin Laing keeps his eye on a deflected puck during first-period action against the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday.

Heat forward Quintin Laing keeps his eye on a deflected puck during first-period action against the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday.

Heat power play lights up Bulldogs

The Abbotsford Heat burned the Hamilton Bulldogs for four goals on the man advantage in Friday's 5-1 home victory.

Abbotsford Heat head coach Troy Ward administered a very public spanking last Sunday, benching Ben Walter, Roman Horak, Sven Baertschi and T.J. Brodie for the entire third period and overtime in a 3-2 OT loss to the Houston Aeros.

If Friday’s home date with the Hamilton Bulldogs was any indication, the offensive-minded quartet took the less-than-subtle message to heart.

All four players hit the scoresheet in the Heat’s 5-1 victory at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre, dominating to the point where you almost expected Sweet Georgia Brown to start playing.

Walter notched a goal and an assist to move past Jon Rheault and into top spot on the Heat’s all-time points list, while Horak scored his first goal since Nov. 2, snapping a nine-game goalless drought.

“It’s definitely a message,” Brodie said with a wry grin, reflecting on the previous game’s benching. “You’ve got to respond the right way to it. I knew I had to come out tonight and play well.”

The Heat carried the play five-on-five vs. the Bulldogs, particularly in the first two periods, but it was on the power play where they did most of their damage.

The hosts went 4-for-9 on the man advantage, reversing a trend that saw them go 1-for-25 on the power play during their recent five-game road trip.

“During the times we’ve struggled offensively, it’s largely had to do with our power play – it hasn’t generated much offence,” Ward said. “Whether you score or not is somewhat immaterial to our coaching staff – whether you generate chances is what’s important. But we hadn’t even been generating many chances.

“We spent the last couple days working real hard on it, and it paid dividends.”

Ben Street opened the scoring on a two-man advantage at 6:50 of the first period, one-timing a shot past Bulldogs goalie Robert Mayer off a sweet backdoor feed from Paul Byron. Baertschi also picked up an assist on the play.

Before the second penalty expired, Walter made it 2-0, whipping a shot from the slot between Mayer’s legs.

Heat captain Quintin Laing notched the lone even-strength goal of the night early in the second, tapping in a lovely pass from Brett Olson on the rush.

Horak snapped his slump shortly thereafter, swatting home the rebound off Brodie’s initial shot on the power play. It was Brodie’s second assist of the night.

Gabriel Dumont denied Heat goalie Barry Brust’s shutout bid, scoring on a four-on-three shorthanded situation at 3:42 of the third, but Steve McCarthy restored the home side’s four-goal edge, one-timing a slapper from the point on another Abby power play.

The Heat, who sit atop the AHL overall standings with a 13-2-4 record, out-shot the Bulldogs 28-16 en route to avenging one of just two regulation defeats this season. Hamilton edged them 2-1 at Copps Coliseum back on Oct. 28.

“We definitely had that in the back of our minds, that we wanted to right that,” Street said.

The only negative for the Heat on this night was the fact that Walter and Baertschi were unable to finish the third period due to injury. No update on their condition was available post-game.

“They were just nicked up, to what extent I don’t know,” Ward said.

Greg Nemisz made his season debut for the Heat on Friday, playing right wing on a line with Adam Estoclet and Max Reinhart. He’d been sidelined by a lower-body injury suffered just prior to training camp.

“He didn’t have to do anything but play minutes, and I would have been happy,” Ward said, noting that the 6’3″ Nemisz lends much-needed size to the Heat’s forward corps. “Obviously it’s going to take Greg a while to get going, but I thought he did a good job.”

Friday’s attendance was 5,145, and the two teams clash again at the AESC on Saturday (7 p.m. start).

ICE CHIPS:

• Walter has 74 points in 93 games in just one-and-a-quarter seasons in Abbotsford, while Rheault (now with the Florida Panthers organization) posted 72 points in 131 games over parts of three seasons.

“Whenever you talk about Ben Walter, you talk about consistency, and that’s one of the biggest things you can do in any walk of life,” Ward said. “He’s a classy man, he does a really good job off the ice with our team, but he certainly does a really good job on the ice in the two years we’ve had him here.”

• Hockey Hall of Famer Yvan Cournoyer (pictured right with Heat president Ryan Walter) was at the AESC for the Heat’s second Legends of Hockey promotion of the season. He signed autographs and dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening face-off.

• NHL veteran defenceman Mike Commodore made his Bulldogs debut after signing a professional tryout contract on Wednesday. He won a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, and has 484 NHL regular season games on his resumé.

Commodore was a fixture in the penalty box on Friday – he picked up four minor penalties, and posted a -1 rating and one shot on goal.

Just Posted

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

(Maps.Chilliwack.com)
RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Agassiz toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Woody’s RV World hosts a grand opening for its brand-new Abbotsford location on Saturday. (YouTube)
Woody’s RV World hosts Abbotsford grand opening on Saturday

First-ever B.C. location for successful RV chain, located on Marshall Road

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

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