When I think of the Abbotsford Heat, do you want to know what I think of?

I recall three straight seasons the Marlies closed out against their west coast rival, two without a hope of the post-season.

I remember Greg Scott notching his his first career hat-trick in Abbotsford.

Above all, I am taken back to the very moment the Marlies new they were heading to the conference finals; having scored an overtime goal to take their fourth straight against the Heat. In a recent chat with Mike Zigomanis, the goal scorer, he hasn’t forgotten that moment either. One of his favourite of the playoffs.

Nine fantastic games last season between the two clubs spread over the regular and post-season. And with the summer realignment of the league’s six divisions, the 2012/13 campaign will see at least eight more kicking off Thursday night in Abbotsford (affiliate to the Calgary Flames) at 10pm, as the now North division rivals renew their rivalry.

Here’s what I’ve made note of ahead of the game:

  • Toronto travelled to Abbotsford with 28 team members: 17 forwards, 8 defencemen and 3 goaltenders
  • Toronto has collected points in three straight games
  • Abbotsford has only a single regulation loss this season in seven games
  • Keith Aucoin leads his new club with six points despite still searching for his first goal
  • Between last season and playoffs, Toronto was 6-0-1 against Abbotsford outscoring their opponents 30-18
  • Matt Frattin played in all nine games against the Heat, leading the Marlies with seven goals
  • Starting eight of those games, Ben Scrivens registered a goals against average of 1.50
  • Toronto’s penalty kill has blanked the Abbotsford powerplay in all five playoff games, and allowed only two goals on 40 times shorthanded through 2011/12

The annual Royal road trip is underway having technically started last Friday in Hamilton. With the Marlies 1-0 so far on the eight game trek, I expect you all to tune in to this pivotal roadie. All games will be broadcast on AHL Live; the audio feed is always free. If satellite is more your thing, SiriusXM is where you can set your dial.. or whatever it is satellite radios use. The fun gets underway at 7pm PST, 10pm EST on Sirius 207 and XM 92.

As always, find me on twitter (@chansler) for the latest lineup decisions and news as it becomes available.

EXPECTED MARLIES LINEUP

IN GOAL: #30 Ben Scrivens

FOWARD LINES
Ashton – Colborne – Komarov
Hamilton – Kadri – Zigomanis
McKegg – Aucoin – Deschamps
D’Amigo – Acton – Scott

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Fraser – Holzer
Gardiner – Kostka
Blacker – Ranger

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