Weekend Preview: Calder Cup Playoffs Round 1 - Games 1 and 2
Friday, April 25th - 7:00 PM PST - Abbotsford Centre
Saturday, April 26th - 7:00 PM PST - Abbotsford Centre
Radio: CIVL RADIO 101.7FM
*Pre-Game Show begins 15 minutes prior puck-drop
Abbotsford, BC - The Heat will begin their final playoff run with a best of five series against the defending Calder Cup Champions Grand Rapids Griffins. Abbotsford is on a hot streak entering the postseason, registering points in seven straight games and are coming off a Texas road sweep, which featured three wins in three nights over the San Antonio Rampage (twice) and the Texas Stars.
2013-14 was a record setting season in Heat franchise history. With a win in their last game against the Texas Stars, this year's squad set new marks in all-time wins (43) & points (94). Individually, Max Reinhart set the all-time single season points record in Abbotsford Heat franchise history. His two assists last Saturday, gave him a total of 63 points (21-42-63), surpassing Krys Kolanos mark of 61 points (30-31-61) in 2011-12.
The Heat have now participated in the Calder Cup playoffs three of the five years in their franchise history, both times previously advancing to the second round before being eliminated. Tickets are available for round one and fans are encouraged to 'Jump on the Bandwagon' one final time before the Heat cease operations in the city of Abbotsford at the conclusion of the Playoffs.
The Heat head into Friday evening with 12 players having Calder Cup Playoffs experience. Corey Locke leads the way in games played (62), points (25-35-60), and Calder Cups (two).
Abbotsford finished the regular season fifth place in the Western Conference with an overall record of 43-25-5-3 and 94 points.
HEAT vs. GRIFFINS (AHL AFFILIATE OF THE DETROIT RED WINGS)
Grand Rapids had the edge in the season series against the Heat, with a record of 3-1-0-0. The Heat's lone victory over the Griffins came at Van Andel Arena on January 18th in a 3-2 score.
The Griffins have struggled near the end of the regular season, going 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games and lost the Midwest Division crown on the final day of the season to the Chicago Wolves. They finished the Western Conference in fourth place with an overall record of 46-23-2-5 and 99 points. They are led by rookie Teemu Pulkkinen who had 59 points (31-28-59) in 71 games and defenceman Adam Almquist who has 53 points (4-49-53) in 73 games. B.C. Natives Landon Ferraro (Trail), and Jeff Hoggan (Hope) return back to their home province.
The Griffins have 12 players returning from the 2012 Calder Cup Championship team including, goaltender Petr Mrazek, who played in all 24 playoff games last year and this season's top scorer Teemu Pulkkinen. However, missing are the likes of Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Luke Glendening, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco, Danny Dekeyser, and Brian Lashoff, who are all with the Detroit Red Wings.
The series will be a special one for Heat defenceman Chad Billins. The Michigan native was an integral part of the Griffins Championship last season, recording 14 points (2-12-14) in 24 playoff games, which led all Griffins blue liners.
2013-14 Regular Season Heat head to head stats vs. Grand Rapids Griffins:
01/17/14 - ABB 0 GR 3 @ Van Andel Arena
01/18/14 - ABB 3 GR 2 @ Van Andel Arena
02/28/14 - GR 4 ABB 3 @ Abbotsford Centre SO
03/01/14 - GR 5 ABB 2 @ Abbotsford Centre
Individual leaders in season series (among active skaters):
ABB: Reinhart: 7 points in 4 GP (2-2-7), Baertschi: 5 points in 4 GP (1-4-5), Locke: 5 points in 8 GP (1-4-5), Ortio: 1 GP (1-0-0-0, 31/33 saves)
GR: Pulkkinen: 4 points in 4 GP (3-1-4), Tootoo: 4 points in 4 GP (1-3-4), Almquist: 4 points in 4 GP (0-4-4), Mrazek: 2 GP (2-0-0-0, 45/48 saves)
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