Heat snuff Stars’ rally, win in shootout

It was a closer call than they might have liked, but the Abbotsford Heat hit the AHL all-star break on a winning note after edging the Texas Stars 5-4 in a shootout on Saturday evening.

The Heat saw a 4-2 lead evaporate with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, as the host Stars got late goals from Dan Spang and Francis Wathier to knot the score.

Abbotsford salvaged the victory in the shootout, as Jon Rheault and Matt Keith scored, and Leland Irving turned aside all four Texas shooters he was required to face.

The Heat (22-20-2-5) were efficient on the power play on Saturday – they went 2-for-3 with the man advantage, courtesy of goals from T.J. Brodie and Lance Bouma. Matt Pelech and Gaelan Patterson added even-strength markers for Abbotsford.

Irving, back in the Heat crease after head coach Jim Playfair opted to give backup J.P. Lamoureux two consecutive starts, turned aside 35 of 39 Texas shots.

The AHL all-star festivities run Jan. 30-31 in Hershey, Penn., and Brodie is the Heat’s lone representative on the Western Conference squad.

The Heat return to action on Friday, Feb. 4, when they face the Chicago Wolves on the road.