ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Abbotsford's Max Reinhart may have have been the game's first star with two goals and an assist.
But if you ask him, it was the play of teammate Joni Ortio that was the difference maker in the Heat's 5-1 win in American Hockey League play Friday night.
Ortio made 32 saves and was a catalyst in the opening period when the Heat needed to preserve a 2-0 lead.
"If I had to look at one play (that was a turning point) it would be the save where Joni dove across and kept it 2-0," said Reinhart. "We got into the break with a 2-0 lead and came out and really stepped on them at the start of the second."
With six minutes to go in the first, Ortio sprawled to stop C.J. Stretch's one-timer on an odd-man rush, one of 11 saves in the opening frame.
"I sold myself and bet on the shooter quite hard, like a soccer goalie diving across," said Ortio. "I don't know how he didn't score, but I'll take it."
Reinhart scored both of his goals in the second period after recording two goals in his last 14 games.
"I've expected more than what we've got this season until tonight - tonight was a good step," said Heat head coach Troy Ward of the Calgary Flames' 2010 third-round selection. "You're either a rusher, crusher or an usher. To be a rusher, get points and play a long time, you've got to finish and make plays when plays are there to be made. (Reinhart) did that tonight very well."
Corban Knight, Ben Hanowski and Josh Jooris each recorded a goal and an assist for Abbotsford (22-9-2) and Ben Street chipped in with four assists.
Abbotsford has now won consecutive games, after losing three-straight, including their 3-2 come from behind shootout win in Hamilton before the Christmas break.
"From the other game, we had a little…strut, and that carried over," said Ward.
The Heat have 46 points and are tied with the Grand Rapids Griffins atop the Western Conference.
Stretch scored for Oklahoma City (11-16-5), which is now just 1-5-1 in their past seven games.
Richard Bachman made 14 stops for the Barons, while Chet Pickard made seven saves through the final 28 minutes in relief.
The Heat got on the board at 4:04 of the first, just moments after they had a goal waved off due to goaltender interference.
Hanowski executed a perfect power move, driving wide past two defenders, cut to the net and roofed the puck.
The Heat made it 2-0 on a power play at 9:42. Bachman made a great stop off Hanowski's one-timer attempt in the slot, but Knight was at the side of the net to bury the rebound for his eighth of the season.
"The guys had some moments of truth and we got some good goals," said Ward. "Our execution was good. We talked about time and space, different ways we wanted to attack the net, and we were opportunistic. That was a big part of the game."
The Heat built on their lead just 64 seconds into the second. Reinhart began the play with a great stretch pass to Jooris at the Barons' blue-line. Jooris fed it down low to Street, who found Reinhart at the face-off dot. The Vancouver native beat Bachman shortside, top corner, for his sixth of the year.
Reinhart scored his second of the game at 12:16. After Street sent in him on a breakaway, he faked a slapshot before beating Bachman five-hole.
"It was a little bit of a river-hockey game at times and when the game goes like that you have to execute," said Reinhart.
The Barons got on the board with a power-play goal at 6:10 of the third - the first shot of the period by either team. After the Heat failed to clear the puck, Andrew Miller quickly centred for Stretch, who picked up his sixth of the season.
Ortio shut the door from that point on, stopping the last 10 shots he faced, plus getting a little help when Miller hit the post on a late power play.
"We've been getting goaltending like that all year. It makes it pretty easy to play when your goalie's going to bail you out like that," said Reinhart.
Jooris rounded out the scoring, deking to his backhand to beat Pickard after getting a nifty feed from Reinhart at 16:33.
The two teams face each other again Saturday night.