Big games from C.J. Stretch and Ilya Bryzgalov combined to snuff the Abbotsford Heat‘s franchise-record regular season winning streak on Saturday evening.
The Heat had won nine in a row coming in, including a 5-4 win over the Oklahoma City Barons on Friday.
But the Barons were better in the rematch, thumping the Heat 4-1 at the Cox Convention Center while amassing a 35-26 edge in shots.
Stretch scored twice in the second period to break open a previously scoreless game, with linemates Austin Fyten and Andrew Miller picking up assists on both goals.
Paul Byron’s goal at 9:59 of the third period would get the Heat to within one, but Linus Omark tallied on the power play less than two minutes later to provide some insurance, and Ben Eager scored into an empty net to round out the scoring.
Goaltender Bryzgalov (pictured below), the former NHL star signed by the Edmonton Oilers last week, had struggled in the first game of his AHL conditioning assignment with the Barons, giving up five goals on 24 shots on Friday.
He was much better Saturday, turning aside all but one of the pucks the Heat directed his way.
Bryzgalov’s counterpart in the Abbotsford crease, Joey MacDonald, suffered his first loss as a member of the Heat after surrendering three goals on 34 shots.
The Heat (13-5-1) still lead the AHL with 27 points, and they finish off their seven-game road trip with four games this week. They play Tuesday at the Milwaukee Admirals, Wednesday at the Rockford IceHogs, and Saturday/Sunday at the Iowa Wild.