Thiessen, Penguins blank Heat in homecoming game

According to his teammates with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Brad Thiessen is Mr. Composure.

Geoff Walker of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins rips a shot past Heat goalie Leland Irving to open the scoring on Friday evening at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

According to his teammates with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Brad Thiessen is Mr. Composure.The Aldergrove-born goalie, though, admitted to having a few butterflies before the opening faceoff on Friday evening at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.But if Thiessen was nervous, he did a pretty good job of hiding it. He stopped all 26 shots the Abbotsford Heat sent his way in a 4-0 Penguins victory.”It was special,” said Thiessen, a graduate of Abbotsford’s Mennonite Educational Institute who notched his seventh shutout and AHL-leading 28th victory of the season. “To come back home and see all the support and all the people out to watch me play, it was a lot of fun. And I’m glad we could get the win for them.”A good portion of the 4,642 fans at the AESC on Friday were there in support of the Baby Penguins’ trio of local products: Thiessen, Ryan Craig (Abbotsford) and Ben Street (Coquitlam). They witnessed perhaps the most complete performance by a visiting team in Abbotsford this season. The Penguins showed why they’re the AHL’s top team – they wasted little time establishing a suffocating forecheck, and held a huge territorial advantage in the first period en route to a 2-0 lead at the intermission. The Pens’ early edge – on goals by Geoff Walker and Zach Sill – could have been even greater if not for a pair of disallowed goals. Bryan Lerg and Brett Sterling tallied in the middle frame for the visitors, and Thiessen took it home from there. He did his best work early in the third, making a dazzling left pad save on Quintin Laing and then stoning MacGregor Sharp from point-blank range.”He was calm, cool and collected back there,” Craig, the Penguins’ captain, said of Thiessen. “It might be a cliche, but that’s his M.O. He just plays a solid game, and we feel like if we do have a breakdown, he’s there to bail us out. He’s been solid for us all year.”Heat goalie Leland Irving was replaced by J.P. Lamoureux to start the third period after allowing four goals on 28 shots.”I don’t think we established our game plan like we talked about all week,” Heat forward Matt Keith said. “They were on top of us all night. We need to move pucks quicker, establish our forecheck better.”It’s up to us to figure it out tomorrow and come out with a better effort.”The Heat and Penguins renew hostilities on Saturday (7 p.m., AESC).ICE CHIPS: • Heat forward Lance Bouma was recalled by the Calgary Flames on Friday afternoon. It’s his second call-up of the season – the rookie from Provost, Alta. got into five games with the Flames in early February, posting an assist and a -1 rating.• The Penguins boosted their league-leading record to 46-18-0-0, while the Heat fell to 31-26-4-5. Abbotsford is fifth in the North Division, three points behind the fourth-place Lake Erie Monsters and four back of the third-place Hamilton Bulldogs.

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