ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – The Abbotsford Heat were not intimidated by the Rochester Americans’ imposing record.
Colin Stuart scored a pair of goals less than two minutes apart as the Heat took a valuable two points from the North Division rival Americans with a 6-2 win on Saturday night in American Hockey League action.
“There one of the best teams in the league right now,” said Heat forward Jason Jaffray. “For us to be able to beat them is a little bit of a statement game for us. I mean they’ve only got four losses on the year.”
Cam Cunning, Garth Murray, Jamie Lundmark and Keith Seabrook also scored for Abbotsford (14-10-4), which opened up a 4-1 lead in the second period and did not look back.
Jaffray finished the night with three assists.
The Heat’s power play, which has struggled for the better part of a month, accounted for three of Abbotsford’s goals.
“You have no idea how frustrating our power play has been the last month,” Jaffrat said. “Our line which hasn’t practised the power play in three weeks kind of lit a fire underneath of us and then we got a couple more.”
Shawn Matthias opened the scoring six minutes into the first period for Rochester (18-4-1). Matthias broke in all alone on Matt Keetley and beat the Heat netminder through his pads after Josh Meyers couldn’t keep the puck in at the Americans’ blue-line.
Keaton Ellerby also scored for the Americans on a point shot that got through a screen late in the third to make it 4-2.
Keetley was perfect the rest of the way, stopping 22 shots for his first win on home ice.
Chris Taylor’s ejection from the game near the midway mark of the opening period served as a huge blow to Rochester’s offence. Taylor was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct when he hit Heat forward J.D. Watt from behind.
“They’re a good team playing hard over there,” said Rocherster’s Michal Repik. “We spent half the first period in the penalty box and they tied the game. After that they didn’t give us too many chances.”
Chris Beckford-Tseu made 33 saves for his first loss of the season.