ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Cam Cunning had a goal and an assist to back Leland Irving 22-save performance as the Abbotsford Heat bounced back with a 4-1 win over the San Antonio Rampage Saturday night in the American Hockey League.
Defenceman Giffen Nyren had his first career AHL goal while playing on the wing, as the Heat recovered from Friday’s 5-1 thumping.
“It was a huge character win for this team,” said Irving. “We just turned it around completely from (Friday) night … everybody was going tonight.
“If you were watching you would’ve seen all the d-men in front of me going down, sacrificing themselves and blocking shots. We did it as a team and we played hard for 60 minutes.”
Cunning opened the scoring by re-directing a Chris Breen point shot before Nyren doubled the lead less than two minutes later with a backhander that got past Rampage Starter Matt Climie.
“I know I’m not playing a lot of minutes, but it’s nice to get that one out of the way,” said Nyren of his goal. “I think we had a good preparation for the game and the whole team was feeling good.”
San Antonio’s best chance of the first came near the seven-minute mark as Tim Stapleton finished off a 2-on-1 feed, but Irving did an excellent job of moving cross-crease to get his left pad on it.
The middle period was all Abbotsford (7-6-1) as they outshot San Antonio 12-2 and picked up the lone goal of the frame on Keith Seabrook’s second of the season.
Seabrook let go a wrist shot low stick-side past Climie, while on the power play, making it 3-0.
San Antonio (8-4-1) got on the board near the mid-way mark of the third when Matt Pope beat Irving high blocker-side for his second of the season.
“I thought (Abbotsford) was really good tonight, give them a lot of credit,”said Rampage head coach Ray Edwards.“They won a lot of races and a lot of battles. We knew they would come out obviously and we didn’t answer.”
Greg Nemisz added an empty-netter with just over a minute remaining.
Irving, who was making his first start since returning from a knee injury, improved to 6-3-0 on the season with the win. Climie, who made 34 saves, was saddled with the loss.