Heat forward Krys Kolanos swoops in on Milwaukee Admirals captain Scott Ford during Friday's Game 1.

Heat forward Krys Kolanos swoops in on Milwaukee Admirals captain Scott Ford during Friday's Game 1.

Nemisz, Kolanos score two goals each as Heat blast Admirals in Game 1

Last spring, after the Abbotsford Heat missed the playoffs, Greg Nemisz might not have known what to do with himself.

Last spring, after the Abbotsford Heat missed the playoffs, Greg Nemisz might not have known what to do with himself.

Lengthy post-season runs had been a way of life for the versatile forward, who was part of one of the greatest teams in Canadian junior hockey history prior to turning pro – his Windsor Spitfires won back-to-back Memorial Cups in 2009 and 2010.

On Friday, Nemisz was immersed in the pressure-cooker of the playoffs once again, and he made himself right at home. He scored twice, including the game-winner, to lead the Heat to a 6-2 road win over the Milwaukee Admirals.

Abbotsford leads the best-of-five set 1-0, and Game 2 goes Sunday at Milwaukee’s Bradley Center.

“You always want to be in the playoffs,” Nemisz noted afterward. “Last year was definitely a tough year, not making it after some long runs in junior. It just feels good to be playing some meaningful hockey again.”

The Heat’s red-hot top line of Krys Kolanos, Paul Byron and Dustin Sylvester got the visitors off to a great start. Sylvester opened the scoring at 3:33 of the first period, with Byron and Kolanos picking up the assists.

But Milwaukee rallied to take a lead into the first intermission. Just 1:27 after Sylvester’s goal, Mark Van Guilder beat Heat goalie Danny Taylor with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that squeaked between Taylor’s arm and his torso. Later in the frame, Jani Lajunen fired a shot from a similar spot that eluded Taylor to make it 2-1.

The second period, though, was all Abby – they out-shot the Admirals 12-5 in the middle stanza and scored three goals.

The Heat were helped along by the fact Milwaukee handed them five power-play opportunities – three of which came courtesy of minor penalties to Admirals captain Scott Ford.

Nemisz capitalized on the man advantage at the 2:50 mark to knot the score, and he got the go-ahead goal at even strength at 13:01, jamming home a rebound off Akim Aliu’s initial shot.

Less than two minutes later, Kolanos notched another power-play marker to stake the Heat to a two-goal lead.

In the third period, goals by Jon Rheault and Kolanos (into an empty net) rounded out the scoring.

Heat head coach Troy Ward said his team’s performance was simply a continuation of the way they played to end the regular season, when they went 8-0-1 over their last nine games.

“I thought we had a lot of good elements to our game,” Ward said. “We had some energy to us. When we had chances to be a skill team, we showed some good skill.”

The Kolanos-Byron-Sylvester unit finished the regular season on a tear, combining for 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in eight games together.

Friday’s game was more of the same – the trio generated three goals, and Kolanos (two goals, two assists) led the way.

“I thought they skated the game really well,” Ward analyzed. “They really got some good looks offensively with the puck.”

The Heat’s special teams were exceptional on Friday – while the power play went 2-for-5, the penalty killers kept Milwaukee’s fifth-ranked power play off the board, snuffing all five of their man-advantage chances.

Ward had an interesting decision to make in picking a starting goalie for Game 1, as Leland Irving is higher on the organizational depth chart, but Taylor has played better of late.

The Heat bench boss ended up tapping Taylor, and he started slowly but finished strong.

“A couple pucks got by him in the first that he probably wants back,” noted Ward, who said he hasn’t decided which keeper he’s going with in Game 2. “But you know what, I thought it was a slow-paced game that was tough for a goalie to get into.

“The good thing for Danny was, we had such a good push in the second, it let him calm his nerves down. We didn’t let them get a lot of chances, and I thought as the game wore on, Danny found his groove.”

Heat winger Jon Rheault gets around Milwaukee defenceman Teemu Laakso during Friday’s opening game of the playoffs. (Milwaukee Admirals photo)

Just Posted

Xauni de Figeuiroa of Abbotsford has been selected to attend a virtual space camp hosted by the Canadian Space Agency at the end of July.
Abbotsford student selected to attend virtual space camp

Xauni de Figeuiroa among 52 youth selected from across Canada

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

A program of the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation enables patients to thank their health-care workers.
Fraser Valley program enables patients to say thanks to their health-care workers

Philip Harris Grateful Patient Program offered through health care foundation

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

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

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read