The Abbotsford Heat, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Calgary Flames, prevented being eliminated in the Calder Cup playoffs on Wednesday. The Heat defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins 2-1 in game three of the Western Conference quarterfinal series. The Griffins, an affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, still lead the best out of five series 2-1.
In game three, Heat center Markus Granlund scored his first goal of the postseason from assistant captain Chad Billins and goaltender Joni Ortio with 1:02 remaining in the third period and the game deadlockled at a goal apiece. Granlund's goal came on the power play as Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan took a two minute high sticking penalty with 1:20 left in the third period.
The Heat entered the third period trailing 1-0, but Heat centre Corey Locke tied the game at one from Chris Breen and Blair Jones at 5:52 of the final period. Ortio was stellar in betwen the pipes for the Heat as he made 34 saves.
The road team has won the first three games of the series. The Griffins defeated the Heat 2-1 in overtime on Friday and 7-2 in a romp on Saturday, with both games being played in southwestern British Columbia.
The Heat and Griffins will now play game four of the series on Friday evening in Michigan. This is the last year the Heat will be associated with the Flames.
It was a great night for the Granlund family, as Markus's brother Mikael recorded an assist as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in game seven of the Western Conference quarterfinal. With the win, the Wild will now play the Chicago Blackhawks in game one of the Central Division Final on Friday.
In other Flames news on Wednesday, former Calgary Flame Dave Lowry was named the 2014 WHL Coach of the Year at an award ceremony in Calgary. Lowry, who played for the Flames from 2000-2004 led the Royals to a 100 point season, and a 23 point improvement from the previous year.