Colton Sceviour stunned the Abbotsford Heat on Wednesday evening, scoring with 11.7 seconds left in the third period to lift the Texas Stars to a 2-1 victory.
With overtime looming, Sceviour and Scott Glennie broke in on a two-on-one, and Sceviour beat Heat goalie Joni Ortio for the game-winner.
The Heat (23-11-2-0, 49 points) came into Wednesday’s action with a chance to leapfrog the Oklahoma City Barons for first place in both the West Division and AHL overall standings, but failed to take advantage. They have another opportunity to make up some ground this weekend, as they visit OKC for a Saturday-Sunday set.
Early on against the Stars, the Heat lost the services of Greg Nemisz, who was hit as he took a pass in the neutral zone. He left for the locker room and did not return.
The game was scoreless until late in the second period, when Heat starting goalie Danny Taylor had the puck fall out of his glove as he waited for a whistle. The Stars’ Stephen Schultz took advantage, knocking the puck into the net to give his team a 1-0 lead.
After that miscue, backup keeper Joni Ortio started the third period for the Heat, as the visitors – undefeated in Texas in six prior games – worked to find an equalizer. Captain Quintin Laing supplied it at the 10:55 mark, banking a shot from behind the Texas goal line in off the skate of goalie Andrew Raycroft. It was Laing’s sixth goal in his last eight games.
The Heat’s league-leading penalty kill had to be terrific on Wednesday – the Stars had seven power plays compared to just one for Abbotsford, contributing to the hosts’ 43-33 edge in shots. But the Heat snuffed all of those man-advantage situations to boost their PK efficiency to 87.6 per cent on the season.