The Abbotsford Heat will look to push their series lead to two games on Sunday after a 6-2 win in Game 1 of their best-of-five opening round series with the Milwaukee Admirals. Krys Kolanos posted four points and Greg Nemisz scored two goals in his first-ever Calder Cup playoff game to give the Heat their eighth consecutive victory.
Early on, Dustin Sylvester would open the scoring on a pretty passing play at 3:33 of the first period. Brian Connelly found Kolanos on the left wall, he centered for Paul Byron who moved the puck for Sylvester and he ripped in his first playoff goal in his first ever Calder Cup Playoff game.
The lead was short lived for the Heat, as the Admirals would score two goals at even strength before the end of the first period to take the lead into the second period of play, where the Heat would take over the game.
Fuelled by five power plays in the period, the Heat would score three goals in the second frame. First it was Nemisz on the man-advantage on a set-up from Ben Walter and Clay Wilson at 2:50 of the period. At 13:01 Nemisz gave the Heat their second lead of the night, and one they would not relinquish, as he scored from the goal mouth while he was being dumped to the ice. Linemates Roman Horak and Akim Aliu would add assists on the eventual game winning goal.
Kolanos would extend the Heat lead to two goals at 14:38 of the second stanza while on the man-advantage. Kolanos outwaited the Admirals net-minder in the high-slot and put in his first of two on the night to make it 4-2 Heat. Hugh Jessiman and Walter drew helpers on the goal.
The third period saw the Heat add to their lead as Kolanos first set up Jon Rheault for his first at 12:44, then scored an unassisted marker into an empty net with just 13 seconds remaining. Byron was given an assist on Rheault’s goal and finished the night with Kolanos, Nemisz and Walter as multi-point performers.
Danny Taylor started for the sixth time in the Heat’s last seven games and made two stunning saves in the final 40 minutes to keep the Admirals from mounting a comeback. Taylor stopped 20 of 22 shots, while the Heat scored on six of 26 shots, one into an empty net.
Special teams were indeed special in Game 1 for the visitors, as the Heat finished with two goals on five power plays, and erased all five man-advantages of the Admirals.
Game 2 of the best-of-five first round match-up takes place on Sunday evening in Milwaukee (6:00 ET, AHL Live).