ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Garth Murray scored the shootout winner as the Abbotsford Heat edged the Lake Erie Monsters 3-2 in American Hockey League action Friday.
Murray went with his signature move, blocker-side wrist shot, to beat Monsters starter John Grahame.
“There’s a couple moves that I try to do, but with hands like mine it’s nice to get a shot on net,” joked Murray. “I just shot high and it’s nice that it went off his shoulder and in.”
Ryan Stoa was the only Lake Erie player to beat Heat starter David Shantz in the shootout. Brett Sutter also scored in the shootout for Abbotsford.
Abbotsford (33-25-10) opened the scoring shorthanded in the first period when David Van Der Gulik broke away from Monsters forward Darren Haydar and put his own rebound past Grahame.
The Heat opened a two-goal lead when Radek Smolenak broke in 2-on-1 with J.D. Watt and beat Grahame high glove-side for his eighth of the season.
Lake Erie (30-30-7) had good chances in the first, controlling much of the flow in the early going, but the momentum shifted in Abbotsford’s favour late in the period after Van Der Gulik’s short-handed marker.
“I actually thought we played well in the first period,” said Monsters head coach, David Quinn. “We made two big mistakes and they capitalized on them.
“I really liked the way we hung in there and gave ourselves a chance – obviously we played a really good third period and actually had a chance to win it there.”
The Monsters finally got on the board just past the mid-way mark of the third as Stoa one-timed a feed from T.J. Hensick past Shantz.
Lake Erie evened things up at two with four minutes remaining as they worked the puck around to defenceman Brett Skinner who found the back of the net for his third of the season.
“On our road trip we were great, we never let up in the third,” said Murray. “For whatever reason at home its been a problem and I’m sure the fans are getting tired of seeing us go into the third period with a lead – it seems like we’re waiting for (the opposition) to come back.
“That’s been the case every home game almost.”
Shantz made 38 in the win while Grahame made 35 saves in a losing cause.