New-look Heat can't crack Climie, Wolves win 1-0
Matt Climie stymied the Abbotsford Heat for a second consecutive evening, backstopping the Chicago Wolves to a 1-0 shutout win on Saturday.
A sellout crowd of 7,046 at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre watched Climie turn aside all 30 shots the Heat sent his way.
The goalie had sparkled in similar fashion on Friday, making 26 saves as the Vancouver Canucks farm team won 3-1.
Both teams are in periods of transition with NHL training camps set to open Sunday.
The Heat have had eight players – forwards Sven Baertschi, Roman Horak, Ben Street and Paul Byron, defencemen T.J. Brodie, Steve McCarthy and Chris Breen, and goalie Leland Irving – recalled by the Calgary Flames.
The Wolves are without the likes of Zack Kassian, Jordan Schroeder and Chris Tanev.
But despite being out-shot 30-15 on Saturday, Chicago was able to find a way to win.
"Honestly, I think we're playing a lot better without our top guys in the lineup," Climie said. "We're playing with desperation. We're finding ways to block shots and clear rebounds. I felt before we were kind of complacent at times. We relied on those guys too much and they weren't producing."
The lone goal of the game came off the stick of Andrew Gordon at 19:05 of the first period.
With the Wolves on the power play, Heat forward Brett Olson got away on a partial breakaway, but Climie stopped him. The Wolves took the puck back the other way, and Gordon chopped the rebound off Bill Sweatt's initial shot past Heat goalie Danny Taylor.
Climie made that goal stand up against a Heat team which has had an awful time scoring over the last month and a half. Abbotsford has won just four times in 17 games dating back to the start of December, and they're the second-lowest-scoring team in the AHL with 81 goals in 36 contests.
"It's frustrating," defenceman Joe Callahan said. "Tonight the effort was there but we have to find a way to get pucks by."
"(Climie) made a difference in the first," Heat head coach Troy Ward said. "He made some really good saves and I thought those were our best chances to score. As the game wore on, you've got to give him credit, but we weren't exactly dynamic offensively."
Abbotsford's new-look lineup featured Mitch Wahl, a recent call-up from the ECHL's Utah Grizzlies, on the top line with Ben Walter and Krys Kolanos, while defencemen Drew MacKenzie and Mike Matczak made their Heat debuts.
• The Heat (17-12-7) return to action with a Tuesday-Wednesday set vs. the Hamilton Bulldogs (7 p.m. both nights, AESC).