A slump-busting goal from Corey Locke ignited a rare offensive outburst from the Abbotsford Heat on Saturday evening.
Locke, one of the AHL’s most accomplished veteran point producers, went 19 games without scoring a goal after being acquired by the Heat from the Chicago Wolves in late January.
He shed the monkey off his back against the Hamilton Bulldogs, opening the scoring on the power play at 14:28 of the first period.
The goal sparked the Heat in a huge way – Chad Billins and Ben Street followed up with tallies of their own in short order, and Abbotsford suddenly had a 3-0 lead. The three goals came within 53 seconds.
In the second period, Sven Baertschi notched a power-play marker to extend his point streak to six games.
Hamilton’s Nathan Beaulieu spoiled Abby goalie Aaron Dell’s shutout bid with a goal at 3:59 of the final frame, but Dell nevertheless earned first star honours on the strength of a 37-save outing.
Max Reinhart scored into an empty net to put the finishing touches on a 5-1 victory, while Derek Smith and Josh Jooris posted two assists apiece.
Goals have been tough to come by for the Heat during a recent stretch of futility which saw them lose 10 of 11 games. They hadn’t scored as many as four goals since Feb. 21 vs. the Milwaukee Admirals, and they hadn’t had a five-goal outing since Feb. 15 vs. the Charlotte Checkers.
The Heat (35-23-7) continue their road trip with a Sunday tilt vs. the Toronto Marlies (11:30 a.m. Pacific time).