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Heat Sizzle in Game 6 to Force Game 7 Thursday Night

April 25, 2010 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Rochester Americans News Release

(Rochester, NY) - The Abbotsford Heat defeated the Rochester Americans 5-1 tonight at The Blue Cross Arena in Game 6 of their first-round best-of-seven North Division semifinals. The Amerks and Heat are now deadlocked in a 3-3 tie and will need Game 7 on Tuesday night in Rochester to determine who will be moving on to the next round of the playoffs. The contest will mark the first Game 7 in Rochester since May 14, 1997 when the Amerks dropped the final game in a 6-2 loss to the Albany River Rats in the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Leading the way for the Heat was Jon Rheault (3+0) who earned the first hat-trick in Abbotsford history on the night and now has five goals in the playoffs. Also contributing in the win was Brett Sutter (0+3) who chipped in with three assists. Winger Mikael Backlund (0+2) and Center David Van der Gulik (1+1) both had two points each tonight.

The lone goal scored by the quiet Rochester offense was Jamie Johnson (1+0) who added his second goal of the post-season. Mike York (0+1) and Jason Garrison also added helpers for the team. The tally marked the second straight game this postseason the Amerks were held to just one goal.

Abbotsford's strong offense was protected by netminder David Shantz who now boasts a 3-2 record in the series and blocked 19 of the 20 shots he faced.

Amerks goaltender Tyler Plante was relieved midway through the first period after three goals were scored off of seven shots in favor of Alexander Salak. Salak bought some confidence back by saving 22 of 24 shots in the losing effort.

Jason Jaffray was first to put up a tally for the visiting Heat at 9:09 of the first period to take a 1-0 lead. Van der Gulik took the initial shot from the point, which was blocked by Plante. After the puck bounced off Plante's pads, Jaffray picked up the rebound and capitalized on the play to score his first goal of the post season. Also assisting on the play was Backlund.

The Heat would attack again less than a minute later to take a 2-0 lead. Rheault beat Rochester's defense and made his way in front of the net, scoring the goal. Sutter also added a helper on the goal.

Again, Abbotsford would continue to add to their lead and score their third unanswered goal of the period to make it a 3-0 game. Rheault added his second goal of the game when he effortlessly slipped the puck past Plante in between the pipes to score. With the goal, Backlund and Sutter both added their second points of the game.

Plante left the game after Rheault's second goal in favor of Alexander Salak, who kept the Heat quiet for the rest of the period. In a little over 11 minutes of play, Plante had four saves on seven shots. After the first, Salak has saved all six of his shots.

The league's most potent power-play came alive midway through the second stanza as Johnson tucked in a York rebound for his second of the playoffs at 8:25. After the Heat's Matt Pelech was called for a tripping infraction, Garrison took control of the Amerks' power-play unit at the center point. Garrison, who leads all league defenseman in postseason scoring, found York open on the left faceoff dot, who then quickly fired a shot on goal. Shantz made the initial save, but failed to cover the puck, thus giving Johnson the opportunity to knock it past the Heat netminder and put the Amerks on the board.

The Heat regained their three-goal lead in the closing minutes of the frame as Van der Gulik converted moments after a faceoff in the Amerks' zone. Brine won the draw cleanly over Abbotsford's Jaffray, and then sent a high wrister over the glove hand of Salak, putting them ahead 4-1.

Abbotsford was in control in the third period with the lone goal being scored by Rheault at 7:26 to earn the hat-trick in tonight's contest. Sutter helped on the goal and picked up his third assist on the night.

The Amerks remain home at The Blue Cross Arena for Game 7, on Tuesday, April 27th. The final matchup is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start at The Blue Cross Arena. With a win, Rochester can clinch the series and advance to the second round (North Division Finals) of the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 postseason. The contest will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1280 WHTK and FM 107.3, Rochester's Sports Talk.

Game 1: Thursday, April 15th at 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena (ABB Leads 1-0)

Game 2: Saturday, April 17th at 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena (Series Tied 1-1)

Game 3: Monday, April 19th at 10:00 p.m. (EST) at Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre (RCH Leads 2-1)

Game 4: Wednesday, April 21st at 10:00 p.m. (EST) at Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre (RCH Leads 3-1)

Game 5: Friday, April 23rd at 10:00 p.m. (EST) at Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre (RCH Leads Tied 3-2)

Game 6: Sunday, April 25th at 5:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena (Series Tied 3-3)

Game 7: Tuesday, April 27th at 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena

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