Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Matczak Gets First AHL Points with a Goal and Assist as Heat Beat Bulldogs 3-1

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Matczak Gets First AHL Points with a Goal and Assist as Heat Beat Bulldogs 3-1

Article excerpt

Matczak gets first AHL goal, Heat beat 'Dogs

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ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Mike Matczak was toiling in the ECHL last week, but on Tuesday he was an American Hockey League star.

Matczak had his first two AHL points with a goal and an assist as the Abbotsford Heat defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-1.

The 24-year-old, who spent most of the season with the Kalamazoo Wings, signed a professional tryout offer and made his Heat debut last weekend when NHL training camps began, drawing several players from each AHL club.

The third-year pro only had one goal and five assists in 23 games with the Wings this season so was a bit surprised to get a chance to join the Heat.

"I wasn't expecting Abbotsford, that's for sure," said Matczak. "It kind of came out of the blue, but I'm excited to be here, and excited to have a chance."

Abbotsford have three defencemen attending Calgary's training camp, so the Flames' staff searched for some hidden gems in the lower leagues.

"John Weisbrod, director of player personnel, had some history knowing about Mike from his days at Yale and liked him," said Heat head coach Troy Ward. "We didn't know if we could get him because he wasn't with our affiliate and he was with Manchester's camp and played seven games there. But he was available and his agent felt it was a good fit."

Matcazk was grateful for the opportunity, especially after the chaos caused by the NHL's labour strife.

"Obviously, the lockout had a trickle-down effect throughout the league, but now it has a trickle-up effect," said Matczak. "I'm trying to just make the most of my opportunity here, doing the best I can to help the team while I'm here for however long I last, and go from there."

Ben Walter and Tyler Ruegsegger also scored for Abbotsford (18-12-7), which had won just once in its past six games. Danny Taylor made 14 saves for the Heat.

Mike Murovich was the lone scorer for the Bulldogs (13-20-4), while Cedrik Desjardins stopped 33 shots. The goalie is now on a personal nine-game losing streak.

Mark Isherwood, a native of Abbotsford, B.C., was another beneficiary of the end of the NHL lockout, getting to play his first AHL game Tuesday night with Hamilton. …

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