Heat: Scouting the Enemy

The Abbotsford Heat have been, cringe-worthy pun coming, on fire as of late. In their last ten games they have gone 9-1-0-0. In fact, they were on a nine-game winning streak up until a 4-1 road defeat against the Oklahoma City Barons. That incredible win streak included three games that went past regulation with two needing the shootout to wrap things up. They currently sit with the best record in the AHL, 13-5-0-1 with 27 points. Mind you they have also played two more games than anyone else in the AHL.

It was over a month ago since the Ads and Heat faced off in Milwaukee’s opening games of the season. Has it been that long already? Here is the refresher course of those opening games.

October 11th, Heat win 3-2 in OT.

October 12th, Ads win 2-1 in a shootout.

Editor’s Note: the Heat might have the best highlight package production value in the AHL… am I right?

The scouting report for those games talked up a netminder by the name of Joni Ortio. The man who has logged the most minutes to this point for the Heat, Reto Berra, has since been called up by the Calgary Flames. It has mainly been Ortio’s net and his results coming into Tuesday night’s game with the Ads are stellar. Ortio has won all seven games he has played in net, has a 2.50 GAA, and a 0.920 SV%. Last game in net for the Heat was veteran Joey MacDonald facing off with Ilya Bryzgalov (Mr. Universe). MacDonald allowed three goals in the losing effort on the backside of a two games in two days. Expectations should be for the Ads to face the unbeaten Ortio in net. Can the Ads be the first team to hang a loss on him?

As for the unit in front of goal they are just as big a reason as to the success the Heat are enjoying. The Heat have scored an AHL best 64 goals as a team. The top goal scorer on the team is Joe Piskula‘s one-time teammate at the University of Wisconsin, Ben Street. His AHL season has been explosive enough to see him get a call up to Calgary. He played in eight games with the Flames picking up a lone assist before getting sent back to Abbotsford. His AHL season looks like this: 12 GP, 8 G, 7 A, 15 pts, with 33 SOG.

Now the fun news. Street is third on the team in points.

Ahead of him are fellow centermen Blair Jones (7 G, 11 A, 18 pts) and Corban Knight (6 G, 10 A, 16 pts). There are six players on this team who have score five goals or more. The Admirals only have two. Put it this way: the team could use another performance like the one in Iowa that produced a shutout simply in order to keep the Heat in-check.

Thoughts on tomorrow night’s game? Does the shutout in Iowa give you confidence that the Ads can slow down the Heat? Will Colton Sissons, who scored his first AHL assist and goal in the opening games in Abbotsford, strike again versus the Heat? If Hellberg is healthy enough to start this game, does he start or do you reward another start to Scott Darling?

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