ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – The Rochester Americans needed a whole period to warm up, but once they got going they were too much for the Abbotsford Heat.
Shawn Matthias and Graham Mink each had a pair of goals leading the Rochester Americans to an 8-4 win over the Abbotsford Heat in American Hockey League action Monday night.
With the win the Americans take a 2-1 series lead in their best-of-seven with the Heat.
Mink scored the eventual game winner with just seven seconds remaining in the second period as he one-timed a Jamie Johnson feed past Leland Irving.
“We just started playing our game in the second period, and once we start doing that in the first period we’re going to be a hard team to beat,” said Matthias who finished the night with three points. “Once we get one it loosens things up a bit out there.”
Abbotsford opened the scoring on the power play as Mikael Backlund beat Rochester starter Tyler Plante low stick-side.
Jon Rheault made it 2-0 as he put the rebound off a Matt Pelech point shot past Plante for his first goal of the playoffs.
“It was a really good start,” said Brett Sutter who had the other two Heat goals. “This is the second game in a row that we’ve come out in the second and allowed way too much. I don’t know if we’re just sitting back or whatever it is, but we have a day to figure it out and we’ve got to be ready for (Wednesday).”
Just a minute after Rheault made it 2-0, the Americans began their offensive outburst as Clay Wilson beat Abbotsford starter David Shantz, with a harmless looking point shot cutting Abbotsford’s lead in half.
Wilson added another in the second, Jordan Henry and Keaton Ellerby had the others for the Americans.
“It’s huge, it gives us home ice advantage again,” said Matthias of the win. “They came in our barn and stole the first game. We want to close out the series here and we’re going to play as hard as we can.
“In the long run at least we got home ice again.”
Wilson’s second of the night sparked Heat head coach Jim Playfair to make goaltending change bringing in Irving for his first taste of AHL playoff action. It was short lived as Irving allowed three goals on nine shots in just over 20 minutes of work.
Shantz finished the night allowing five goals on 19 shots, in two separate stints, for his second consecutive loss.
Plante finished the night with 29 saves for his second consecutive win in the series.