ABBOTSFORD — Brett Sterling scored a natural hat trick Friday to lead the Chicago Wolves to a 3-1 win over the Heat in American Hockey League action at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.
With a handful of Wolves players called up for the impending Vancouver Canucks training camp, expected to start Sunday, Sterling made an argument to join them, scoring three times in just over eight minutes in the first period.
Brad Hunt had two assists for Chicago (16-12-5), now 3-1-1 in its past five. Matt Clime stopped 26 shots to get the win.
Ben Walter scored for Abbotsford (17-11-7). Leland Irving made just seven saves in the first period. Danny Taylor made 20 stops the rest of the way.
Walter opened the scoring for the Heat on the game’s first power play at 4:08 on a redirection. Krys Kolanos sent a crisp cross-ice pass to Paul Byron at the face-off dot and he quickly centred the puck to Walter in front.
The Wolves tied the game at 10:17 on a power play of their own as Sterling beat Irving with Andrew Gordon screening in front. Hunt and Darren Haydar picked up assists on the goal.
Sterling struck again just two minutes later, this time deflecting Hunt’s point shot through Irving’s legs.
The Los Angeles native completed the natural hat trick at 18:33. With Gordon going to the net Sterling centred banked his shot in off Irving for his 13th goal on the year.
The three goals came in a span of eight minutes 16 seconds.
The two teams meet again Saturday night in Abbotsford.
ICE CHIPS: Sterling, who surpassed 400 career AHL points in Chicago’s 6-1 win over Oklahoma City last Sunday, leads the Wolves in scoring.
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