The Abbotsford Heat extended their winning streak to 11 games by defeating the Toronto Marlies, 3-1, in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series on Tuesday night.
Max Reinhart scored a goal and added an assist in just his third professional game, and Danny Taylor won his ninth consecutive start to give the Heat the series-opening win in front of 4,934 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
The Heat would open the scoring as Greg Nemisz and Hugh Jessiman went hard to the net after a rebound at 15:24 of the first period. While neither Nemisz nor Jessiman found the puck, Reinhart put it over a down-and-out Marlies goaltender Ben Scrivens. Reinhart, who scored twice in his pro debut on Apr. 15 vs. Toronto, now has three goals and an assist against the Marlies in just two games.
The Heat would extend their lead to 2-0 in the second period when Kolanos moved a puck behind the net to Reinhart, who eluded a Marlies defender by banking the puck off the back of the net to himself before setting up Chris Breen’s one-time blast. The goal was Breen’s first since Dec. 29, when he scored his lone regular-season goal against Texas.
The Heat led by two goals to open the third period, but the home team brought the crowd to life with an even-strength goal just 1:27 into the final frame. The Marlies outshot the Heat 15-5 in the third period but the visitors would hold on, and ice the game with an empty-net goal from alternate captain Guillaume Desbiens at 18:39 of the period.
Taylor made 31 saves on 32 shots and made numerous big plays to keep the Heat ahead in the game. Taylor, who was named the game’s first star, has now allowed just seven goals through four playoff games.
The Heat and Marlies power plays were held off the scoresheet on Tuesday night as both teams failed to score on three attempts.
Game 2 of the series is Thursday night (7:00 ET, AHL Live).