TORONTO – The Abbotsford Heat scored four goals while on the power play, but that wasn’t enough to make up for the one they surrendered.
Darryl Boyce scored the winning goal while Toronto was short-handed as the Marlies defeated the Heat 6-4 in American Hockey League action Friday.
“Four power-play goals against in one game is usually a guaranteed loss,” Boyce said, “but the guys rallied around each other and we held on to the win.”
Mike Zigomanis, Matt Lashoff, Simon Gysbers, Brayden Irwin and Marcel Mueller also scored as the Marlies (13-8-3) won their fourth consecutive game in front of an announced crowd of 3,526 at Ricoh Coliseum.
Gysbers and Irwin each added an assist for two-point games, and 13 Marlies had at least one point.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but in the end we’re looking for points,” said Marlies coach Dallas Eakins.
“Some nights it’s 1-0 and you’re banging your head against the wall because you can’t score. Tonight was a night where both teams were able to entertain the fans.”
Bryan Cameron, Matt Keith, Stefan Meyer and Lance Bouma replied for Abbotsford, all on the power play. Despite going 4-for-9 with the man advantage, the Heat lost their third straight game—and sixth in seven outings—to fall to 12-10-3 on the season.
Marlies netminder Jussi Rynnas made 26 saves for the victory, while the Heat’s Leland Irving stopped 21 of 27 shots in a losing effort.
“(Rynnas) has been unreal for us,” Irwin said. “It’s no secret our goaltending has been a big part of our success.”
Eakins was slightly more critical of his netminder.
“There was probably one or two goals he’d like to have back….But he’s been great for us this year, and he made some huge saves tonight, too.”
The Marlies led 2-1 after the first period and 5-2 through 40 minutes.
Zigomanis opened the scoring early in the first period when he snuck in from the right boards and slid the puck between Irving’s legs at 1:24.
Lashoff made it 2-0 for Toronto when his low slapshot from the left point beat a screened Irving at 10:01 of the first.
Abbotsford replied with 28 seconds left in the first. Joe Piskula found Cameron in the slot, where the rookie one-timed the puck past Rynnas.
Gysbers restored Toronto’s two-goal cushion when he scored on a rebound at 4:03 of the second period, and Irwin made it 4-1 when he redirected defenceman Danny Richmond’s point shot past Irving for a power-play goal at 6:11.
Keith pulled the Heat back within two goals just 32 seconds later when he scored his team-leading 11th of the season at 6:43 on another Heat man advantage.
Abbotsford’s next power play didn’t go as well, as Boyce scored short-handed when his centring pass hit a Heat defenceman and bounced past Irving at 16:07.
Meyer made it 5-3 early in the third period when he lifted a shot over Rynnas’ shoulder at 4:17, and Bouma pulled the Heat within a goal when he redirected a shot past Rynnas at 8:52.
Mueller closed out the scoring 34 seconds later when he whacked a rebound past Irving during a goalmouth scramble at 9:26.
Toronto went 1-for-4 on the power play.
It’s a busy weekend for the Marlies, who face the Heat again Saturday afternoon before hosting the Chicago Wolves on Sunday.