ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - An injection of NHL experience made all the difference for the Abbotsford Heat Friday night.
Ben Street was sent down by the Calgary Flames this week and made an immediate impact, scoring the opening goal in the Heat's 4-2 win over the Lake Erie Monsters in American Hockey League play.
Veteran defenceman Derek Smith, as well as forwards Blair Jones and Roman Horak also joined the club. Street, Smith and Jones were the game's three stars, while Horak chipped in with two assists.
"With Smith and Street, it was like two grown men out there, compared to what we looked like a week ago against Milwaukee at home," said head coach Troy Ward. "They got a good first goal out of Street and Smith played well."
Corban Knight scored the winning goal in the second period, while Chad Billins added a key insurance goal in the third for Abbotsford (4-3-1).
Not long after Lake Erie had cut the Heat's lead to 3-2, there was a goal-mouth scramble in front of Abbotsford's Reto Berra. However, instead of tying the game at three, Michael Scarbossa was assessed a roughing minor, and the Heat made them pay on the power play.
"We're deeper and seem to have a bit more of a presence as a team," said Ward. "This is the first time all year we've actually responded to something, where we kind of put a nail in the coffin. That was very much a turning point of the game."
Carter Bancks also scored, while Berra made 22 saves.
The majority of Berra's saves came in the third period after facing just 12 shots through the first 40 minutes.
"Those are always tough games for a goalie, when you don't have that many shots," said Berra. "I had a good start, a lot of shots, and I had a long time with no shots. And at the end, a couple good chances again. It wasn't easy."
Bryan Lerg and Joey Hishon scored for Lake Erie (3-4-0), while Sami Aittokallio stopped 28 shots.
The Heat opened the scoring at 14:44. Max Reinhart made a no-look, behind-the-back pass from behind the net to Street, who converted his own rebound.
"I was hoping to play a little more in their zone [than I did in Calgary], and I thought our line was able to do that," said Street. "We had some extended shifts that we were able to get the puck down low and get some chances to the net."
The Monsters tied it just 69 seconds into second period while on the power play. Andrew Agozzino took advantage of Smith being caught deep in the Lake Erie zone and sent Hishon in alone to score top corner with a backhand shot on Berra.
However, the Heat regained the lead at 5:25. Byron's initial shot was stopped, but Ben Hanowski rushed in to chip the puck up and Bancks was there at the side of the net to knock the puck out of the air and into the net for his first of the year.
Knight scored at 15:54 to give Abbotsford a two-goal lead. He took a feed from Greg Nemisz and backhanded it between Aittokallio's legs, giving him two goals on the campaign.
However, the visitors cut the deficit in half only 61 seconds into the third period. Brad Malone centred for Lerg, who quickly wristed it top shelf for his team-leading fifth of the season.
Then, on the power play, Billins' one-timer slap shot blew by the Monsters' netminder, giving the second-year defenceman four goals in eight games to start the year.
Abbotsford finished 1 for 4 on the power play, while Lake Erie was 1 for 5.