In their final home game of 2012, the Abbotsford Heat defeated the Texas Stars 2-1 in a shootout at the AESC Saturday night.
Krys Kolanos scored a power play goal in regulation and added the shootout winner while netmind-er Barry Brust stopped all but one shot through 65 minutes to earn his eighth win in 10 starts this season.
The victory keeps the Heat in top spot in the Western Conference with 36 points.
"That's a tough team. They're better than their record shows," said Brust of the Stars.
On Friday for the annual Teddy Bear Toss, the Heat lost to Texas 31, with the lone goal coming from rookie defenseman Brady Lamb (his first goal of the season). That was what the 3,700 fans were waiting for, as they sent more than 1,200 Teddy bears flying from the rafters and onto the ice midway through the second period. The stuffed animals were delivered to the Abbotsford Food Bank in time for Christmas.
That was the bright spot in a somewhat lackluster game before the Heat rebounded back on Saturday night.
"It's been a little bit of a tough stretch for us," said head coach Troy Ward. "We just hung in there, last night [Friday] and tonight we were sharper mentally."
In Saturday's contest, Kolanos scored his fifth goal of the season with assists from Ben Street and Roman Horak. The game remained tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and overtime.
"Ben's been consistent, he continues to make plays, he leads the league in shots," said Ward. "He's been a big part of our special teams this year."
In the shootout, T.J. Brodie, Horak and Kolanos scored for the Heat, and Brust stopped three of five shots to give the Heat their second shootout win of the season.
Brust stopped 39 of 40 shots in the game and remains undefeated in regulation this season. The Heat were outshot 40 to 27.
"Barry's been really unbelievalble in shootouts all year. He gives us a chance," said Ward.
The Heat now head out on the road to play six games before the New Year, with their first coming tomorrow morning against the Chicago Wolves (AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks) at 9 a.m. PST.
The Saturday, Dec. 29 game against the Wolves will be broadcast on Sportsnet One. Puck drop is set for 5 p.m. PST.
The Heat will play eight home games in January, including games against the Chicago Wolves Jan. 1112 and the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens) Jan. 15-16.
They open their homestand on Friday, Jan. 4 against the Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres) at 7 p.m. at the AESC.