ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Barry Brust seems to have regained his form just in time for the American Hockey League all-star game.
Brust made 30 saves Sunday for his fourth shutout of the season as the Abbotsford Heat shut out the Milwaukee Admirals 2-0.
The owner of the AHL's best goals-against average (1.44), Brust snapped a personal five-game winless streak, including a poor showing in a 5-2 loss to Rochester Jan. 5, the first time he had allowed four goals all season.
"It's been a struggle for me lately, and that's probably why I've had two weeks without playing," said Brust, who sat in favour of the red-hot Danny Taylor for most of January. "I needed this one tonight. I was in a lot of close games, and my last game didn't go so well. It's nice to get back on the winning side of things, and I felt pretty good out there."
Twelve of his saves came in the third period with the Admirals pressing. Heat forward Paul Byron left the game with an undisclosed injury so the home team was scrambling to keep the shutout intact. Brust was forced to make a few big stops, including a tough blocker save with three minutes to go that still grazed the top of the crossbar.
"He made a real quiet big save midway through the third that would have gone under most goalies' pads," said Heat head coach Troy Ward. "But he made some other good saves too. He was exceptional down the stretch. We ran out of gas a bit, minus one forward. Barry stood tall, just like Danny did last night."
Krys Kolanos and Brett Carson had the goals for Abbotsford (21-12-7), which has won four straight. Both players also scored in Saturday's 2-1 win over the Admirals.
Kolanos opened the scoring. Coming down the left wing, the Heat forward brushed off a defenceman, used a power move to get to the net and slid the puck under Hellberg for his 11th of the year at 6:15.
Carson made it 2-0 for the Heat at 3:15 of the second period, just seven seconds into a power play. He one-timed Mike Matczak's setup from the point, giving him goals in each of his first two games this season.
Their power play at home is ranked second in the league, and according to the coaches and teammates, it will be even more potent with the addition of Carson, who was sent down by the Calgary Flames following training camp last week.
"He's obviously got that big shot, and he's a big, consistent guy,” said his defence partner Chris Breen, who was also at Flames camp. “He's a solid player, and he's always going to be in the right spot."
Matczuk set up both Carson's goals and has four points in his five games since signing with the Heat out of the ECHL last week.
"Mike made nice passes to him twice in a row," said Ward. "No disrespect to Brett but those were nice passes that were put in his wheelhouse.”
Magnus Hellberg stopped 21 shots for the Milwaukee (17-16-6), who have lost five straight games. Hellberg has not won since Dec. 12, a span of six games.
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