AGD: Back at it vs SA

 

Time: 8:00pm mst

Location: Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre

Broadcast: teamradio.ca, abbotsfordheat.com

Abbotsford will get a chance to avenge their 3-2 OTL this evening on the second night of a B2B versus the San Antonio Rampage. Despite outshooting the Western Conference’s last placed team 26-6 in the final two periods + overtime, the resurgent Jacob Markstrom was able to hold his club in it long enough for Jason DeSantis to seal it in the extra frame.

It was a characteristic slow start that killed the Heat last night. They gave up 11 shots and two goals which was enough to get the Rampage to OT. Abbotsford has struggled a lot in opening periods this year for whatever reason (despite their great record) – the last time I checked, the club was being outshot in aggregate, but only because they were yielding so much rubber in the initial frame.

Still, the Heat’s territorial dominance through the majority of the game shouldn’t be overlooked, especially with guys like Sven Baertschi and Ben Walter on the shelf. The other bit of good news was a bit of break-out for the perpetually snake bitten Max Reinhart. Before last night, the kid had struggled greatly in the offensive zone and was mostly relegated to checking and 4th line duty by Troy Ward as a result. With a few of the scorers out of the line-up, Reinhart got a bit more opportunity and bit better linemates and made the most of it. He scored his first goal of the season, led the team with five shots on net and by the sounds of it looked dangerous all night.

Reinhart’s ticket to the show won’t be stamped with an impressive offensive stats line to be sure. That said. he needs to be at least relatively functional north of the redline in order to make the leap – just about everyone who isn’t a goon who becomes a full-time NHLer up front is a .70 PPG guy or better in the AHL.

It will be interesting to see if he can build on that momentum tonight.

The Lineup

 

  • Olson – Street – Kolanos
  • Laing – Byron – Nemisz
  • Horak – Reinhart – Sylvester
  • Bancks – Estoclet – Ruesegger
  • Brodie – Piskula
  • Breen – McCarthy
  • McKelvie – Callahan
  • Irving

Greg Nemisz also got a bit of a bump up the roster yesterday, but the move didn’t seem to do much for him. Nemisz was held shotless by San Antonio (he and Adam Estoclet were the only two forwards not to get a puck on net) and has yet to manage a point in three outings.

It’s still very early for Nemisz and he hasn’t played for awhile, so some rust is natural. Still, he is suddenly battling for ice time and organizational priority with guys like Ben Street, Brett Olson, Roman Horak and Paul Byron. To say nothing of Sven Baertschi who has already passed him by. In addition, Troy Ward was apparently on the radio today saying they may have to determine just what role Nemisz is appropriate for at the pro level since he doesn’t exactly seem to be scorer.

With Brust and Taylor each losing their last contest, tonight may be a rare Leland Irving sighting in net.

The Opposition

  • Rallo – Wellman – Howden
  • Wright – Shore – Rheault
  • Selleck – Timmins – Vaive
  • Deveaux – Gomes – McFarland
  • Robak – Yonkman
  • Petrovic – Strachan
  • DeSantis – Caruso
  • Markstrom

Not much more to say about the Rampage. As apparently evidenced last night, they give up shots and chances by the bushel full. Their front-end and back-end depth is suspect, but they do seem to have a pretty good goalie (now that Markstrom seems to pulled out his early season funk).

Sum it Up

The Heat certainly aren’t 100%, but the Rampage remain a below average opponent. If Abbotsford can continue to double them up in shots tonight, there’s a good chance things will end in their favor in regulation this time.