BRITISH COLUMBIA

Abbotsford Heat lose eighth straight game, fall 4-1 to Chicago Wolves

03/09/2014 09:34 EDT | Updated 05/09/2014 05:59 EDT
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - The Chicago Wolves have the luxury of giving an American Hockey League all-star the night off and still starting a veteran goaltender with NHL experience.

The Abbotsford Heat used to have that too with Joni Ortio, who was among the leaders in all goaltending categories, and NHL veteran Joey MacDonald. But after Calgary's Kari Ramo was injured and Reto Berra was traded, both netminders are now with the parent club, leaving Olivier Roy in net for Abbotsford.

Roy allowed two goals on four shots Sunday before being replaced by Aaron Dell as Abbotsford (33-21-7) lost its eighth straight, 4-1 to the Wolves.

"A part of our year and our record may be indicative of Joni Ortio and occasionally Joey Mac," said Heat head coach Troy Ward. "The confidence that goaltending gives you . . . it's unbelievable. And (Chicago has) got that right now. (Jake Allen is) probably the best goalie who's not in the NHL in the American Hockey League.

"I thought it was one of the biggest differences in the four games we played (against Chicago). If you look at tape and you're just honest, I'd say we had some great looks."

Matt Climie, giving all-star Allen a night off, made 28 saves in the Wolves' victory.

Climie stopped all 12 shots in the third period to help the Wolves hang on to the win, and extended his personal streak to 4-0-2.

"We've been going to the wood on Jake pretty much the whole year, but Matt's taken on a lot of tough games and played very well for us," said Chicago head coach John Anderson. "We have a lot of confidence in him."

Climie, who is in his third-season with the Wolves, has had to adjust his role after Allen took the starting job.

"It's kind of a different role this year for me, being that support guy," Climie said. "I've got and be solid when I am called upon so we can give Jake a break going down the stretch."

Dell stopped 13 of 15 shots in relief for Roy, who was also hooked in Saturday's game, and whose goals against average has ballooned to 3.62.

Alexandre Bolduc, Cody Beach, Dmitrij Jaskin and Tyler Shattock each scored for Chicago (35-18-6), who is on a 12-2-1 run that has them within three points of Grand Rapids for the Midwest Division lead.

Cade Fairchild, Taylor Chorney, and Pat Cannone, fresh off his first career hat trick against the Heat Saturday, picked up two assists apiece.

Brady Lamb, a defenceman turned forward, scored the only goal for Abbotsford.

Ward was forced to dress nine defencemen Sunday, with three of them playing as forwards, as his already depleted roster was dealt two more injuries in Saturday night's loss.

"If I even go back to the mid-90s when I was in the IHL, I remember some weird stuff, but I don't remember ever playing three D up front, one as your starting left wing," said the Heat coach. "We've played Chicago three times now in the last two weeks, and we've played three of the four games with a minimum of eight D in the lineup."

The Wolves opened the scoring seconds after Climie made a huge save, robbing Evan Trupp after he one-timed a centring feed from Blair Jones.

"He's a good goalie over there," said Trupp of Climie. "I couldn't get anything by him. I got pretty good setups from my line mates too. He had my number, that's for sure."

The play went the other way and Bolduc redirected Fairchild's shot from the left circle.

Beach made it 2-0 at the 14-minute mark, deflecting Eric Selleck's point shot and sending Roy to the bench.

Jaskin scored on the first shot Dell faced just a couple minutes later, taking a cross-ice pass from Cannone and roofing it for his 15th of the year.

"Three goals in the first throws you back for a loop a bit," said Anderson. "But I have to give (the Heat) credit, they did not quit. They played better than we did tonight, quite honestly."

The Heat got on the board in the second as Trupp chipped the puck off the boards right to Lamb in full stride at 15:45.

"I actually surprised myself," said Lamb, who was playing right wing for the second-straight game. "I came off the bench there and saw both wings had been covered, so I just skated through the middle there and it was a great play by Trupp to chip it to the middle. I got a few strides on their D-men and chipped it up over the goalie's shoulder."

The Wolves squashed any comeback hopes with a power-play goal at 8:38 of the third. Cannone drew Dell far enough out of his net and quickly passed it over to Shattock for a wide open net.