Weekend Preview: Games 33 & 34 vs. Oklahoma City Barons
Friday, December 27th- 7:00 PDT- Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre (AESC)
Saturday, December 28th- 7:00 PDT- Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre
Radio: CIVL RADIO 101.7FM
*Pre-Game Show begins 15 minutes prior puck-drop
Abbotsford, BC - After a well deserved break for the Christmas holidays, the Heat will begin a four game home stand starting tomorrow. Two games remain in 2013, and the Heat have Oklahoma City in their way before they start to ponder their New Year's resolutions.
Last season after the Christmas break, 2013 was not very kind to the Heat as they went 19-24-1-3 in the second half of the season to miss the playoffs. Although this year's squad is a different group, the few players that were a part of the 2012-13 team will be relied upon to provide leadership to ensure that the same thing does not happen again this season.
The Heat are coming off of a shootout win in Hamilton on December 22nd. Shootouts have been kind to the Heat this season as the team picked up their fourth shootout win, tied for the most in the Western Conference. After losing their first shootout of the season on October 12th against Milwaukee, the Heat have won four straight. Shooters for the Heat have gone a combined 9 out of 14, while Joni Ortio and Joey MacDonald have stopped 15 out of 16 opposition shooters in the last four shootout wins.
Overall, the Heat remain in a tie with Grand Rapid for first place in the Western Conference at 21-9-1-1 and 44 points.
BARONS @ HEAT (AHL AFFILIATE OF THE EDMONTON OILERS)
All four meetings between the Heat and Barons this season have been played at the Cox Convention Center. Now it is Abbotsford's turn to play host for the next four, and the Heat will look to improve on their 1-4-3-0 all-time record when taking on the Barons in Abbotsford. Through four games this season, the Heat are 2-2-0-0 and all but one game has been decided by a single goal.
2013-14 has been a struggle for the Barons, who stroll into the Fraser Valley with a record of 11-15-0-5 through 31 games. To make matters worse, they lost their leading scorer Linus Omark, who had 29 points (14-15-29) in 29 games, to a trade with the Buffalo Sabres just before Christmas. The Barons are also without their captain Anton Lander, who has been up with the Edmonton Oilers since the beginning of December. However, former Heat forward Roman Horak will suit up against his former club for the first time at the AESC. The Czech Republic native was traded to the Oilers organization on November 8th and with Omark no longer on the roster, he leads the team in scoring with 18 points (7-11-18) in 31 games. Just a week after the trade, Horak took on the Heat in a Barons uniform for the first time and recorded three assists in a doubleheader set in OKC.
2013-14 Heat head to head stats vs. Oklahoma City Barons:
10/18/13- OKC 4 ABB 3 @ Cox Convention Center
10/19/13- ABB 2 OKC 1 S/O @ Cox Convention Center
11/15/13- ABB 5 OKC 4 @ Cox Convention Center
11/16/13- OKC 4 ABB 1 @ Cox Convention Center
Individual leaders in season series (among active skaters):
ABB: Granlund: 4 points in 4 GP (1-3-4), Street: 3 points in 2 GP (3-0-3), Billins: 3 points in 4 GP (1-2-3), Ortio 1 GP (1-0-0-0, 24/28 saves)
OKC: Miller: 4 points in 4 GP (1-3-4), Stretch 3 points in 4 GP (3-0-3), Horak: 3 points in 2 GP (0-3-3), Bachman: 2 GP (1-0-0-1, 69/73 saves)
NEWS & NOTES
Grant Fuhr will be honoured tomorrow night as part of Legends of Hockey at the AESC. At 6:00 pm, Fuhr will be signing autographs on the concourse for fans and will conduct the ceremonial face off before the game. Fuhr is an NHL Hall of Famer, a five time Stanley Cup winner, and winner of the NHL's Vezina Trophy (1988) and William M. Jennings Trophy (1994). In an NHL career spanning 21 seasons (1981-2000), Fuhr played in 868 NHL games for the Oilers, Maple Leafs, Sabres, Kings, Blues and Flames. He was a six time NHL all-star, first team (1987-88) and second team (1981-82) NHL All-Star, and two-time Canada Cup Champion. Fuhr also holds or shares seven NHL records, has the ninth most wins, and the third most playoff wins in NHL history. Grant Fuhr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003.
A Milestone will be achieved this weekend by Mark Cundari if all goes accordingly. On Saturday, he is set to play in his 200th regular season AHL game. This is Cundari's fourth season in the AHL and to date has recorded 80 points (22-58-80) and 297 penalty minutes.
The Heat are 7-3-0-0 against teams in the West division this season. The Barons are 7-9-0-3.
Brandon Astle and Vanni DeBartolo will bring all live Heat action this weekend on 101.7 CIVL FM and on www.teamradio.ca. The pre-game show begins 15 minutes before the game.
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