ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – John Armstrong made sure his first goal in more than two months was a big one.
Armstrong scored the game-winner early in the third period Friday as the Abbotsford Heat extended their winning streak to three games with a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Marlies in American Hockey League play.
Armstrong squeezed a weak wrist shot past Marlies starter Ben Scrivens 3:49 into the third to give Abbotsford a 3-1 lead.
“It’s good to get the monkey off my back,” said Armstrong, whose fourth goal of the season was his first since Oct. 25. “I had a couple goals earlier on in the season and I thought they were going to keep coming, but they weren’t coming.
“I just tried to shoot the puck more at the net and I knew eventually they’d go in.”
Toronto’s Mike Zigomanis scored at 13:44 of the third to cut the lead back to one, but Toronto failed to find an equalizer.
Ryan Stone and Lance Bouma had the other goals for Abbotsford (19-17-5), which improved to 16-1-2 when scoring at least three times.
“I think that was a good job tonight of what we worked on in practice—creating a little more offence and I think we did a really good job of that,” Bouma said.
Jeff Cowan had the other goal for Toronto (19-16-7). Fabian Brunnstrom, acquired by the Maple Leafs in a trade with the Dallas Stars on Thursday, picked up two assists in his Marlies debut.
Stone opened the scoring at 16:26 of the first on the power play when his centring pass redirected in off of a Marlies defenceman.
Cowan evened things just 1:26 later, backhanding a shot up and over Heat starter Leland Irving.
Bouma made it 2-1 Abbotsford at 6:52 of the second, beating Scrivens stick-side with a one-timer for his ninth of the season.
After Armstrong made it 3-1, Zigomanis brought the Marlies closer. He fanned on his shot but had it go in off of Heat defenceman Matt Pelech.
“It was a pretty tight one,” said Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins. “I thought Abbotsford worked real hard, was hard on the body early and it wasn’t until the third period where we finally found a little bit of our mojo.
“I thought Abbotsford did a great job of defending and their play without the puck was excellent.”
Irving made 21 saves for the victory, while Scrivens stopped 25 shots in the loss.