The Lake Erie Monsters edged the Abbotsford Heat 3-2 in a big North Division match-up on Sunday afternoon.
David Van der Gulik, an Abbotsford native and former member of the Heat, ignited a two-goal outburst late in the opening frame, and the Monsters (25-22-3-5) fended off Abbotsford (23-22-2-5) down the stretch to open a five-point lead in the race for third place in the division.
Van der Gulik opened the scoring at 17:23 of the first period, and Matthew Ford made it 2-0 just 14 seconds later. The Heat made a goaltending switch at that point, with J.P. Lamoureux coming in for Leland Irving.
Irving re-entered the game to begin the second period, and Cam Cunning cut the Monsters’ lead in half with his 11th goal of the season at the 10:14 mark. Lake Erie defenceman Kevin Montgomery restored the two-goal cushion less than three minutes later, but Matt Keith got his team-leading 16th of the year to make it 3-2 through 40 minutes.
The Heat, playing their third game in three nights, generated some chances in the final frame, but goalie Jon Grahame and the Monsters kept them at bay. Abbotsford forward Bryan Cameron had a golden chance in the waning minutes, but he hit the post.
The Heat are back in action on Tuesday night in Hamilton, as they face the Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum.