The Abbotsford Heat weathered a wild third period in San Antonio, ultimately outlasting the Rampage 5-4 in a shootout on Sunday.
The Heat took a 2-1 lead into the final frame, courtesy of goals from Sven Baertschi and Brett Carson.
But the two teams would engage in a true Texas shootout in the final 10 minutes of regulation. San Antonio’s Brendon Nash and Abby’s Max Reinhart exchanged goals just over two minutes apart, but then the Rampage responded with two goals in 14 seconds, with Jack Combs and John McFarland doing the honours, to take a 4-3 lead.
Blair Jones bailed out the Heat, scoring with 9.2 seconds left in regulation to knot the score.
Overtime solved nothing, and Abbotsford goalie Barry Brust dominated the shootout. He stopped the four Rampage shooters he was required to face, while Jones and Ben Walter were successful on their attempts to lift the Heat to victory.
Walter and Krys Kolanos both posted two assists, while Brust made 36 saves in regulation and overtime.
Sunday’s game marked the Heat’s third win in their last 16 games, and the end of their season-high seven-game road trip. They return to the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre for a Friday-Saturday set with the Rockford IceHogs.
Abbosford (29-27-9, 67 points) holds down the eighth and final Western Conference playoff berth, but three teams – the Oklahoma City Barons, Milwaukee Admirals and Rockford IceHogs – trail them by a single point and have at least three games in hand.
• Baertschi, with a goal and an assist, registered his first points with the Heat since being sent down by the Calgary Flames two weeks ago.
• The Heat endured a game of musical chairs in the goaltending department on the weekend. With Flames starter Miikka Kiprusoff awaiting the birth of his second child, Danny Taylor was recalled by the NHL parent club. Leland Irving was unavailable for the Heat – according to a team press release, he underwent elective surgery on March 12 and is expected to be sidelined another two weeks – so Abbotsford signed Chilliwack native Grant Rollheiser to a pro tryout contract to back up Brust on Sunday.
• The Heat were without Mike Testwuide and Akim Aliu on Sunday due to suspensions. Testwuide was banned three games for a charging incident vs. the Texas Stars last Wednesday, while Aliu received an automatic one-game suspension after incurring his second “abuse of officials” misconduct on March 14 at the Houston Aeros.