ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Turner Elson put up a lot of points in junior, but it was his first professional goal that ignited the Abbotsford Heat Friday night.
Elson scored with 4.6 seconds to go in the second period to even the score against the Milwaukee Admirals, contributing to the Heat's 3-2 overtime victory in American Hockey League action.
"It was obviously the turning point of the game," said Abbotsford head coach Troy Ward. "If we go down after two, it's a different game. It certainly gave us some momentum and gave our young kids some energy in the locker room. We went into the third with a different mindset after that."
Brett Olson flipped the puck ahead and Elson jumped around Admirals' defender Anthony Bitetto to one-hand the puck past goalie Magnus Hellberg.
"I tried to get past the defenceman and I saw the goalie wasn't going out for it, and I got my stick on it and chipped it over his foot there," said Elson, who played three games over two seasons for the Heat on a tryout basis.
"The first goal as a pro, it's been a long time waiting," said the former Red Deer Rebel. "You dream of getting your first goal as a pro — maybe not as greasy as mine, but they all count in the end."
Greg Nemisz scored the winner at 1:58 of overtime.
Corban Knight, who had two assists, rushed down the wing and found Nemisz standing in front. He redirected it past Hellberg for his first of the season.
"It wasn't pretty but we got a big goal at the end there," said Heat alternate captain Carter Bancks. "That's how you win hockey games."
Ben Hanowski also scored for Abbotsford (2-1-0) in the club's home opener.
Reto Berra stopped 24 shots in the victory.
"Both goalies, I thought, stole the show," said Ward. "They both made outstanding saves and took some pucks away from guys that maybe they thought they could squeeze by. Reto battled very hard to find pucks, which was key."
Patrick Cehlin had a goal and an assist for the Admirals in their season opener, while Taylor Beck also scored for Milwaukee. Magnus Hellberg made 28 saves.
After a scoreless first period, the visitors drew first blood while shorthanded.
Austin Watson stole the puck from Abbotsford's Chad Billins behind the net and centred for Cehlin, who slid a backhand around Berra's poke check attempt at 6:45.
The Heat took their first lead of the game at 13:11 of the third when Hanowski went top shelf from in close.
He began the play by hounding a Milwaukee defenceman into giving the puck away to Knight, who found Josh Jooris down low. Jooris quickly tapped it across to Hanowski for his third of the season.
"One of the things Ben has been able to do his whole career — high school and St. Cloud State — is score goals," said Ward. "He seems to be fitting into that same role here. He's off to a good start. He's had key goals for us. It was a good pass by Jooris, but still, it's a goal scorer's goal when you tuck it under the bar short side there."
The Admirals tied the game a little more than two minutes later. After a point shot bounced off a few bodies in front, the puck squirted right to Beck, who lifted it over the sprawling netminder for his first goal of the season.
However, Beck got called for a tripping penalty in overtime and the Heat took advantage.
"It was definitely big for our team," said Knight. "We had a good push in the third and got that goal, and then they scored to get us back on our heels. It was important to push back, especially in overtime, to get that goal. It would have been disappointing if we didn't get that win tonight."
Abbotsford finished 1-for-7 with the man advantage, while Milwaukee was 0-for-4.
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