CEDAR PARK, Texas – Blair Jones led all scorers with a five-point night (3 goals, 2 assists) to lead the Abbotsford Heat to a 7-3 win over the Texas Stars Wednesday night in front of 4,412 fans at Cedar Park Center.
Texas came out the aggressor in the opening period and out-shot Abbotsford 18-7, but couldn’t get any pucks past goalie Joni Ortio. The Heat started the scoring late in the period when a home run pass from Chad Billins in the defensive zone found Blair Jones at the far blue line for a breakaway and he beat Stars goalie Cristopher Nilstorp under the blocker at 16:01. Just 37 seconds later Brett Olson scored a power play goal to double the Heat lead.
Jones found the net for the second time at 4:46 of the second period, blasting in a one-timer for a power play goal and a 3-0 Abbotsford lead. Texas got on the board courtesy of a Scott Glennie goal at 11:02, assisted by Colton Sceviour and Chris Mueller. Sceviour then scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season at 14:35 as he redirected a beautiful centering pass from Brett Ritchie for a power play goal that cut the Stars deficit to one. The Heat scored a crucial goal in the closing seconds of the period as Jones found an unmarked Ben Street behind the Texas defense and Street, in one motion, lifted the puck over Nilstorp for a 4-2 Abbotsford lead.
Francis Wathier sparked the team and the crowd with a brilliant individual effort early in the third period to pull Texas back within one. During a Stars penalty kill, Wathier dumped the puck behind the Abbotsford net, raced in, stole it from the Heat goaltender in the trapezoid and then out-muscled two defensemen and the goalie to jam the puck into the net for a thrilling unassisted, shorthanded goal at 5:25. A mere 30 seconds later, Abbotsford halted the rising Texas momentum as Street scored on the power play, his second goal of the game. Twenty five seconds later, the Heat extended their lead to 6-3 on a goal from Corban Knight during a goal-mouth scramble. Texas then removed Nilstorp, replacing their starter with backup Josh Robinson. With three and a half minutes left in regulation, the Stars pulled Robinson for an extra attacker. The move backfired as Jones scored on the empty net to complete his hat trick and record his fifth point of the night at 16:59.
Joni Ortio secured his sixth win of the season in net for Abbotsford, making 45 saves on 48 shots to improve his record to 6-0-0. Cristopher Nilstorp returned to action after missing four games due to injury and stopped 23-of-29 shots in 46:18 of action, while taking the loss in goal for Texas. Josh Robinson finished with two saves on two shots in 13:08 of relief. The Stars out-shot the Heat 48-32 in the game and went 1-for-5 on the power play; Abbotsford was 3-for-3 on the man-advantage.
Note: Mike Hedden recorded the second assist on Sceviour’s second period power play goal to extend his current point streak to seven games. Hedden has seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) during his streak.