The Stockton Heat blew the top of the Abbotsford Centre on Thursday (Feb. 3) with a 7-3 win over the Abbotsford Canucks. (Abbotsford Canucks photo)

Heat return to Abbotsford with 7-3 win over Canucks

Teams battle again on Friday night for Agriculture Night

The Heat franchise’s first visit to the Abbotsford Centre since April 13, 2014 saw them skate away with a big 7-3 win on Thursday (Feb. 3) night.

The Stockton Heat, which formerly called Abbotsford home for five seasons, erupted for four goals (including two empty netters) in the third period to earn the victory.

The teams traded four goals in the first period, with Connor Mackey and Luke Philp giving the Heat 1-0 and 2-1 leads. Sheldon Rempal and Will Lockwood scored Abbotsford’s tying goals.

Philp scored again in the second, with a shorthanded goal to give Stockton back the lead in the second and they would never relinquish it.

Stockton’s Jakob Pelletier and Matthew Phillips added to the lead with a pair of goals into the third and both were on the power play. Abbotsford’s Yushiroh Hirano got the Canucks back on the board with a power play goal of his own at 13:51 of the third, but Phillips scored two empty net goals to complete his hat trick and give the Heat the 7-3 win.

Spencer Martin made his first start in goal for Abbotsford since a stint in Vancouver and allowed five goals on 27 shots. Phil Di Giuseppe had a team-high five shots on goal, with Jack Rathbone collecting four.

“The Heat are a good team,” stated Canucks head coach Trent Cull. “We got into some penalty trouble at the start of the third, not the smartest penalties. We came out of the first 2-2 but then they got a couple power play goals to start the third. That kind of turned the tide.”

Stockton is the top team in the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division, with a record of 25-7-3-1. The Canucks currently rank sixth with a record of 15-14-3-1.

The two teams meet again today (Friday) at 7 p.m. The theme is Agriculture Night and the game is presented by the University of the Fraser Valley and UFV Agriculture.

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