Heat forward Guillaume Desbiens drives the puck towards Toronto Marlies goalie Ben Scrivens.

Heat forward Guillaume Desbiens drives the puck towards Toronto Marlies goalie Ben Scrivens.

Heat remain upbeat after 4-1 loss to Marlies in Game 3

After a 4-1 loss to the Toronto Marlies on Saturday, the Heat find themselves trailing in a series for the first time in these playoffs.

In the wake of a 4-1 home-ice loss to the Toronto Marlies on Saturday evening, the Abbotsford Heat find themselves trailing in a series for the first time in these Calder Cup playoffs.

But don’t expect Troy Ward to reach for the panic button.

In fact, to listen to the Heat head coach talk, he’s not certain as to the location of said button. He may not even be aware of its existence, metaphorical though it may be.

Abbotsford has yet to solve the Marlies’ top-ranked penalty kill in the series – they went 0-for-4 on the power play on Saturday, and are now 0-for-16 over the first three games.

The Heat were also second-best in the goaltending department on Saturday, as Ben Scrivens out-dueled Leland Irving, who was making his first start in nearly three weeks and surrendered a suspect goal just 58 seconds into the game.

But on both fronts, Ward offered spirited post-game defences. He liked Irving’s play “a lot,” and he pointed out he evaluates the power play based on the number of scoring chances generated. Ward felt the Heat were much better in that department on Saturday than they had been in Game 2, when they went 0-for-9 with the man advantage.

“We’re down 2-1 (in the series), but we feel awesome,” Ward asserted. “You guys (the media) might be a little down, but there ain’t nobody in that room down. We liked our game. They didn’t get out of their end at times, we did some good things on the forecheck, I thought we were more physical.

“You’ll find us all energized on Tuesday and ready to go (for Game 4). We’re excited. They’re the two seed – why shouldn’t we be excited? They’re an unbelievable team. We just keep coming at them. We love this (stuff). Seriously. We love it.”

Irving, who watched from the bench as Danny Taylor started the Heat’s first five playoff games, got off to a rough start, as the second shot he faced found the back of the net. Marlies forward Nazem Kadri did the deed, sweeping around the net and tucking in a wrap-around.

Matt Frattin doubled Toronto’s lead at the 11:43 mark of the first. The red-hot Frattin, who has scored in each of the three games in the series, stole the puck from Clay Wilson in the neutral zone, then swept in and fired a wrist shot from the left circle that deflected off Heat defender Chris Breen’s stick and went over Irving’s glove.

Despite the two-goal deficit, it wasn’t a terrible opening frame for the Heat as a whole, as they generated some good looks at Scrivens. The closest they came to scoring was when Hugh Jessiman wired a slap shot off the post on a power play, and Scrivens stood his ground on the ensuing goalmouth scramble.

The Heat got to Scrivens early in the second, as Dustin Sylvester tipped in Wilson’s point shot at the 2:21 mark.

The hosts were pressing for more, and nearly got the equalizer when Greg Nemisz and Max Reinhart got away on a two-on-one break. Nemisz sent a pass across, but Reinhart couldn’t get a stick on the puck.

Shortly thereafter, the Marlies restored their two-goal cushion against the run of play. Marcel Mueller came busting down the left wing and fired a shot that Irving got a piece of. The puck dribbled through the crease, and Philippe Dupuis fought through a check to jam it in at the far post.

Irving came up with a massive stop late in the frame to keep his team in it, stoning Greg Scott on a shorthanded breakaway with a highlight-reel glove save.

In the third period, the Marlies – the AHL’s stingiest defensive team during the regular season – made it tough for the Heat to get anywhere near Scrivens.

Abbotsford’s comeback effort was blunted by a trio of penalties in the final frame, none of which the Marlies scored on. But just after the third penalty – a cross-checking call on Brett Carson – expired, Mueller put the game out of reach, tapping in a sweet feed from Ryan Hamilton.

In the aftermath, Irving echoed Ward’s optimism, noting the game was closer than the score indicated.

“The guys played great,” he said. “Our penalty kill was solid – we had a lot of guys blocking shots, and I thought we spent a lot of time in their end. Unfortunately we just didn’t get enough pucks to the net and bodies to the net. In this league, when you’ve got a goalie like Ben Scrivens down there, you’ve got to get lots of pucks and bodies in front of him.”

Irving hadn’t seen game action since the regular season finale on April 15, and he grew stronger as the game wore on. Ward offered a “no comment” as to which goalie he’ll pick for Game 4.

“A little rusty at the start, obviously, but I was excited to get in there,” Irving said. “It was a big game, and any pro athlete loves being thrown into those situations.

“Unfortunately, that wrap-around is one I’ll stop 99 out of 100. After that, it was just about playing my game and being patient.”

Frattin, whose goal stood up as the game-winner, lauded the play of his goalie Scrivens, who finished with 20 saves.

“He’s a confident kid,” Frattin said. “It doesn’t matter if they’ve just scored. He’ll get back on his feet and start playing like you know he can. He’s been our backbone, and we’re just trying to get some goals for him. He’s definitely keeping us in games.”


• The Heat made two lineup changes, inserting Akim Aliu for Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond up front, and Brett Carson for Joe Piskula on defence.

• Wilson had an eventful evening – he was on the ice for all five goals scored in the game, ending up with an assist and a -3 rating in 22:29 of ice time.

• Among the 3,086 fans in attendance, there were quite a number wearing Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys.

“Toronto fans are everywhere you go – it’s crazy,” Frattin noted. “It was definitely good to see them out here tonight.”

• Games 4 and 5 run Tuesday and Wednesday at the AESC, with the puck dropping at 7 p.m. both nights.

Just Posted

Satwinder Bains of Abbotsford is the recipient of the 2021 aculty Service Excellence Award from University of the Fraser Valley. (UFV photo)
Satwinder Bains receives UFV Faculty Service Excellence Award

Bains has guided South Asian Studies Institute as director since 2006

The City of Abbotsford has prepared a draft Urban Forest Strategy that is now headed to public consulation.
Draft plan adopted for managing Abbotsford’s urban forests over next 25 years

Urban Forest Strategy now heads to public-consultation process

Country music star Chris Lane stops in Abbotsford next February. (Submitted)
Country music star Chris Lane coming to Abbotsford

Multi-platinum artist bringing ‘Fill Them Boots’ to Abbotsford Centre on Feb. 19, 2022

The Abbotsford International Airshow is back for 2021 with the ‘SkyDrive’ concept.
Abbotsford International Airshow returns for 2021 with ‘SkyDrive’

New format features a drive-in movie type experience, show set for Aug. 6 to 8

The intersection of Blueridge Drive and Blue Jay Street is one of three intersections in Abbotsford approved for traffic lights this year. (Google Street View)
Traffic signals approved at 3 Abbotsford intersections

Projects part of $1.45M in road upgrades around community

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

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