Heat Crushed by Griffins in Potential Last Home Game Ever

Hockey clubs will always have a few bad games over the course of a season. Good teams both limit these bad games in number, and in timing, so that they don’t happen at key times.

The Abbotsford Heat had a bad game on Saturday night.

They lost 7-2 to the Grand Rapids Griffins to go down 2-0 in their best-of-five Calder Cup opening round contest. Game 3 goes Wednesday in Grand Rapids. (Games 4 and 5 would also be in Grand Rapids, so they have quite the hill to climb.)

So what the heck happened?

Well, they had a decent first period. Emile Poirier and Max Reinhart scored, twice giving the Heat leads, but twice the Griffins came back and tied the game. They took the lead late in the first, on a short-handed breakaway goal by Cory Emmerton.

The second saw Grand Rapids go up 5-2, off a three-on-two rush finished by a nice snap-shot from just outside the slot by Jeff Hoggan. Goal five was well-played by Brett Kulak, using speed and positioning to keep Andrej Nestrasil to the outside. It didn’t matter, as his bad-angle shot eluded Joni Ortio, who was replaced in short order by back-up Jeff Carr.

The third period saw Carr give up two power-play goals – one on a screen from his own defender. Ortio gave up 5 goals on 31 shots and looked fairly decent; the second Nestrasil goal was not great, but he also had faced a lot of high-percentage chances due to Abbotsford’s defenders being not-great. Carr allowed 2 goals on 15 shots in his pro playoff debut.

In-general, the Heat played like a young team that lost a double-OT heartbreaker the night before. They did a lot of little things wrong; lapses in coverage, bad pinches leaving Markus Granlund back on a two-on-one, unintentional screens of the goaltender, dumb penalties. There legs weren’t entirely there all game. They got out-shot 46-17. Heck, they allowed a late goal in the first, basically nullifying a pretty good first 20 minutes in which they managed to (a) solve the puzzle that was Petr Mrazek and (b) contribute offensively on their power-play.

After that? Nothing. Nobody really stepped up, veteran or otherwise, to stop the skid or change momentum. Granted, Grand Rapids is a very strong team with great coaching that played a strong 60 minutes of hockey, but there wasn’t nearly the amount of push-back you’d expect from a young, desperate team playing at home.

Instead, they just seemed content to roll over and die.

Brett Kulak led the Heat with 3 shots on goal.

The Heat are back in action on Wednesday night with their season on the line in Grand Rapids. They need to win three straight, on the road, to advance to the next round.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Although the results aren’t where anyone wants them, I think the experience of pro playoff hockey will pay huge returns for the organization.

    Especially with the tough circumstances (play OT and lose and then have to come back next night. On top of that have to face elimination in every subsequent game- which is a road game!!), it will be a good gauge as to who has fight or push back in them.

    The heat is on so to speak and its a good thing. Hopefully they come together – there are so many new faces right now.

    Anyone can be good or a great teammate when things are going great but how people act when things are grim is what I want to see.

    I would like to know if Sven is leading the way on the ice – attacking, getting in there? Does he just follow suit or does he initiate?

    The same goes for Knight – can he get gritty enough or is he too nice?

    When I saw Landeskog smash Koivu into the ice after Koivu did the same to him – I loved that battle and nastiness. Lot of skill with those two as well.

    • McRib

      Elliotte Friedman knows what he is talking about apparently. Hahah.

      Myself I really like the hiring of Brad Trelving he has a ton of management experience in hockey as he was president of the Central Hockey League for seven years and was solid for Phoenix as assistant GM, like that he is a first time GM seems like he will be highly motivated. Interestingly Brad Trelving’s father Jim is Co-Owner of Boston Pizza, Co-Host of Dragons Den and the Chair of the Hockey Canada Foundation Board of Directors. Imagine if he was our GM last year, Hockey Canada would certainly have choosen Emile Poirier for the World Junior Team, Hahaha.

  • cunning_linguist

    I believe he is the son of Jim Treliving from Dragon’s Den.

    Looks like a decent candidate. Personally, I’d much rather take Jim Benning, Boston has consistently been one of the best clubs at finding and developing talent over the past decade (Bergeron, Lucic, Marchand, Dougie Hamilton, Krejci, getting Reilly Smith as part of the Seguin deal etc..

  • cunning_linguist

    The Flames continue to get screwed by bad officiating………

    Colorado had no business winning that game last night: off side……and hooking.

    That 2nd round pick looks a lot better if they go out in the first round!!!!


  • loudogYYC

    Treliving is in charge of amateur and pro scouting in Phoenix. There’s a few good quotes from coach Tippett regarding Treliving’s amazing work ethic and his eye for players that fit their system.

    The Phoenix management style is probably the closest thing to Detroits management style and I think Treliving is a big part of that. I’m totally ok with him getting the GM position if all the rumours are true.

    • loudogYYC

      Why Gilmour? Burke specified he was looking for an executive with a drafting background.

      Fenton, Treliving, Benning or Futa. My guess is it’s one of those 4.

      • EugeneV

        Not in favor myself, just really wishing there was something interesting on this site at the moment.

        Been so bereft of reading material I actually went to the Oilers and Canucks sites for a look and saw someone mention him.

        Why can’t we have some articles about something on this site?

        Is everyone on holiday?

        bored, bored, bored…

  • EugeneV

    And what about Al MacInnis for GM.

    has worked in hockey operations in St Louis for 8 years and they have come right after a rebuild.

    Any thoughts on that?

    I’d prefer him to Nieuwendyk.

  • EugeneV

    When you have your lunch handed to you in a game like this it really introduces a sense of reality. This is a development league and many of the Flames prospects have a great deal of development ahead of them. Other than perhaps Granlund who has pure skill and touch many of the others have to put in more time. For some like Knight and Rienhart despite the numbers and appear to be ready they really need to develop toughness and grit or they will never see the NHL on a regular basis.
    As much as I touted Poirier as being a potential surprise next year he really needs to work on his defensive game and that may take another year. with the Heat.

    The college guys could also benefit with a year under Troy Ward so back to my previous thoughts of basically having status quo on the Flames next year, continue to improve the culture and hopefully gain some much needed young star talent in the strong star laden 2015 draft!

    Playoffs in 2015/16 season!!

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      I read the Buffalo Sabres article linked in post #3 above. Seems to have been a large part of Phoenix punching above their weight class and sounds like he works like a dog. Been involved in several good draft picks and trades. I’d say it is a positive.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Eliot Friedmon tweeted it and announced it on the fan 960. Suppose to be a press conference tomorrow to make it official.

    Tree living has experience, not much as a GM, but was an assistant behind Malone in Phoenix who’s done a lot with little.