ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Brandon Pirri had the shootout winner as the Rockford IceHogs edged the Abbotsford Heat 4-3 in American Hockey League action Saturday night.
Pirri faked the shot and then went backhand to beat Heat starter Matt Keetley glove side.
“They had a southpaw in net, you don’t see too many of those, so you just try and keep your head up, go down and see what he’s doing,”said Pirri of the winner.“I saw that he wasn’t going back too fast so I just tried to get it over and then get it up.”
Overtime was an exciting one in Abbotsford as the Heat had two glorious chances to score the winner. Greg Nemisz went top shelf on goalie Alec Richards, but the goal was called back and Heat defenceman Matt Pelech was assessed a goalie interference penalty
Moments later Carter Bancks had an excellent short-handed chance as Ivan Vishnevskiy mishandled the puck at the blue-line, allowing the Heat rookie to break in all alone on Richards. But the Ice Hogs netminder came up with an even better save.
After a scoreless first period, which saw both teams exchange minimal quality scoring chances, the IceHogs and Heat exploded for five in the middle frame.
Jeremy Morin opened the scoring for Rockford on a 5-on-3 power play, one timing a Brian Connolly feed glove side past Keetley.
Abbotsford then broke out for three goals in 51 seconds on eight shots. John Armstrong tied things at one before Matt Keith and Keith Seabrook helped open up a 3-1 lead for the Heat.
“We knew we were having trouble scoring goals, the puck wasn’t bouncing for us and we knew as soon as we got one they would start coming,”said Seabrook, who finished the night with a goal and an assist.“We kind of got into a groove there and then we took that penalty, which is the moral of the story: we got to stay out of the box.”
Rockford cut into the Abbotsford lead before the period was over as Jeff Taffe re-directed an Ivan Vishevskiy pass past Keetley to cut the Heat lead to 3-2.
Ryan Potulny picked up a power-play marker in the third tying things at three and forcing overtime
Special teams were once again a factor in the win for the Ice Hogs (3-2-0) who went 3-for-7 with the man advantage
“Our power play was good,”said IceHogs head coach Bill Peters.“I think we have some guys that can move it around, have some skill and can make good decisions so that’s something we need to get going and it is.”
Richards turned aside 29 shots for the win while Keetley turned aside 18 shots in the loss.