ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Colin Stuart netted the shootout winner in the ninth round as the Abbotsford Heat put an end to their six-game losing skid with a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Wolves in American Hockey League action Friday night.
Stuart deked to the backhand and went high glove side on Wolves starter Kari Lehtonen for Abbotsford’s first shootout win on home ice this season.
“Oh my god that’s the best feeling about everything right now,” said Heat defenceman Gord Baldwin of the win. “We won . . . I don’t know it’s been six games now, we’ve been playing better, but now we’ve got to get out of that slump.”
Riley Holzapfel opened the scoring for Chicago (29-17-4) near the halfway mark of the first when his wrist shot from the top of the face-off circle beat Heat starter David Shantz.
Baldwin then took over for Abbotsford (22-23-7) scoring his first two of the season.
The Heat blue-liner tied the game when he put a harmless looking wrist shot past a screened Lehtonen for his first of the season.
Then, late in the second, Baldwin struck again when he was able convert on a perfect feed from Stuart.
“I got the puck in the crease and it was kind of a scrum, I just looked up and I saw Stuart had some speed so I just gave it to him. I just went hard to the net and he hit me and I put it five-hole,” said Baldwin of his second goal.
“I’ve been shooting the puck, but it seems like I couldn’t buy a break the last couple games.”
The Heat penalty kill broke down early in the third when Anthony Stewart was able to re-direct a Jamie Hunt feed past Shantz to tie things at two.
“I thought their goalie played well,” said Wolves forward Spencer Machacek. “We came hard there in the third period, we were down by a goal – I thought that was a big goal for us by Stewart.
“We had chances to win it, but their goalie came up big.”
Shantz made 32 saves picking up his third win of the season while Lehtonen made 19 saves for his second loss of the season.
“I think David’s played very well three games in a row now,” said Heat head coach Jim Playfair. “It’s a confidence boost for him winning in a shootout.”