ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Jon Rheault broke out of a slow offensive start and prevented the Abbotsford Heat from suffering a third straight loss at home.
Rheault scored 1:16 into overtime as the Heat picked up their first home win of the season, 4-3 over the Rochester Americans in American Hockey League action Monday night.
Rheault broke in 2-on-1 with Carter Bancks and beat Rochester starter Jacob Markstrom blocker-side for his second goal of the season. The goal came after Rochester’s Evgeny Dadonov tied the game 3-3 with 1:17 left in regulation.
“It was a 2-on-1 from our blue-line so you know you have a lot of time. (Carter Bancks) made the great decision to give it to me early, it kind of changed the angle right away,”Rheault said. “At first I was looking to pass and then I kind of saw their guy skate over to him.
“I just shot the puck and it went in, it felt great–it’s been a little bit of a rough start for me.”
Gaelan Patterson scored twice in regulation for North Division leading Abbotsford, while John Armstrong had the Heat’s other goal.
Michael Duco and Kenndal McArdle also scored for Rochester.
Abbotsford (5-3-1) struck twice in a 2:05 span in the first period, paving the way for its third win in four games.
Armstrong opened the scoring as he poked a loose puck past Markstrom, who mishandled the puck behind his own net.
Patterson made it 2-0 as he fired a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle glove-side on Markstrom.
Rochester (3-4-1) cut Abbotsford’s lead in half as Duco redirected a Michal Repik feed through the legs of Heat starter Leland Irving.
McArdle tied the game 2-2 as he put home a Dadonov cross-ice feed for his third goal in as many games.
“Yeah we definitely can’t do that,” said Rheault of letting Rochester back in the game. “But you got to like the way we responded too. To get that point, that’s a big point.”
Abbotsford regained the lead near the midway mark of the third as Patterson beat Markstrom in a race for the puck just inside the Americans blue-line and poked it home.
Once again the Americans responded as Dadonov split the Heat defence and beat Irving low.
“It is quite frustrating when you come away with the loss, but you know what? We have to give credit to how hard our team worked,” McArdle said. “I think all we have to do is take how we played tonight and roll it in to (Tuesday) night.”
The win was a costly one for Heat defenceman Matt Pelech, who was hit from behind by Triston Grant near the 11-minute mark of the second and left the game with an apparent shoulder injury.
Irving turned aside 17 shots for his fifth win of the season while Markstrom made 30 saves in the loss.