really perform at 100 per cent. (ATC-SIM)

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ABBOTSFORD, B. [url=http://www.officialavalanchefanstore.com/authentic-erik-johnson-avalanche-jersey/]Erik Johnson Jersey[/url] .C. -- With their playoff hopes hanging by a thread, the Utica Comets needed someone to step up Saturday night. Enter team captain Colin Stuart. Stuart scored twice to lead the Utica Comets to a 3-1 win over the Abbotsford Heat on Saturday in American Hockey League action. Stuart now has 15 goals on the year and is tied for third on the team despite scoring just twice in the previous 15 games. "We challenged our leaders to bring a better game tonight, and (Stuart) was one of the guys who stepped up," said Comets head coach Travis Green. "Hes been good for us all year. You expect your captain to make plays and step up at the right time. You need all your best players this time of the year and it was good to see him do that." The Comets had their four-game winning streak snapped Friday by the Heat, but moved to within eight points of a Western Conference playoff berth with the bounce-back victory. "I didnt like the way we skated last night and the way we competed in certain areas of the ice," said Green. "The guys responded well tonight. These are desperate times for our team and we played like it tonight." Stuart, who signed with the Comets NHL-affiliate Vancouver Canucks during the summer, played in Abbotsford during the Heats inaugural season in 2009-10. Hes now registered six points in six games against the Heat this year. "Its still neat coming here," said Stuart. "And not just the arena, but the city itself. Its interesting to see how things have changed around town. And obviously I was here in the inaugural season so it was pretty special too." Brandon DeFazio also scored for the Comets for his third goal in four games. Alex Friesen had two assists for Utica (27-27-7), while Joacim Eriksson made 38 saves in the win. "(Eriksson) was good the whole game," said Green. "I like him last night and really liked him for the last three months. Hes been real solid for us. He had a tough start to the year but hes starting to develop." Eriksson gave the Abbotsford offence fits Saturday, making several key stops. "We keyed on getting the puck to the net but obviously we didnt take away the guys eyes as well as we should have," said Heat defenceman Chad Billins. "Theyre big bodies back there and they box out very well. Weve got to get some more bodies to the front of the net. And also hes a good goalie, so youve got to give him credit too." Ben Street scored the only goal for the Heat and Olivier Roy stopped 31 shots for Abbotsford (34-21-7), which has just one win in its last nine games. The Heat actually had the best opportunities to open the scoring, getting four power plays in the first period, but had nothing to show for it, including just one shot through 10 minutes. "We had four straight power plays, and we didnt generate anything off of that," said Heat head coach Troy Ward. "We didnt gain some momentum, we didnt put ourselves in a position physically or mentally to get some emotion or get some charge out of those power plays. I thought that was one of the biggest differences in the game." Stuart mirrored that idea. "We got into a little bit of penalty trouble in the first period," said Stuart. "We just kept battling back. Wed kill off a penalty and gain back a little bit more momentum and build on it. They kept coming at us and we weathered the storm when we needed to and controlled the game when we needed to as well." The Comets finally opened the scoring at 8:47 of the second period. Yann Sauves long shot was kicked out by Roy right to DeFazio down low and he made no mistake in beating Roy stick side for his 12th of the year. The Heat had some opportunities to get on the board. Corey Locke forced a turnover behind the net and centred for Max Reinhart, but Eriksson stopped him and made it look easy as well. While Locke has 14 assists with the Heat this season, he still has not scored in 18 games. "Its frustrating," said Locke. "Ive been getting looks but cant find a way to get the puck behind that goal-line. It cost a goal today. I stayed out to try and score, extending a shift, and they go back and score that second goal. Thats unacceptable." Stuart made it 2-0 at 15:25. Friesen made a perfect pass off the boards, around a Heat defender, to Stuart and he beat Roy blocker side. The Comets captain got his second of the game at 3:05 of the third. He skated to the left faceoff dot and wired a shot short side on the Heat netminder, putting the visitors up 3-0. The Heat had a two-man advantage with eight minutes to go in the third and finally beat Eriksson. Street one-timed Lockes pass from the slot, blowing it by the Swedish netminders glove for his 23rd of the year. [url=http://www.officialavalanchefanstore.com/authentic-tyson-jost-avalanche-jersey/]Tyson Jost Jersey[/url] . -- The defending Canadian womens curling champions squandered an opportunity to take sole possession of first place in the standings Tuesday at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. [url=http://www.officialavalanchefanstore.com/authentic-cale-makar-avalanche-jersey/]Cale Makar Jersey[/url] . The incident occurred at 6:28 of the first period in Anaheims 6-3 home win over Dallas on Sunday. Garbutt left the penalty box and skated at Penner before leaving his skates to deliver a check. [url=http://www.officialavalanchefanstore.com/authentic-samuel-girard-avalanche-jersey/]http://www.officialavalanchefanstore.com/authentic-samuel-girard-avalanche-jersey/[/url] . The Raptors (15-15) posted six road victories last month and have won seven of their last nine games overall. Toronto visits the Washington Wizards on Friday night.SHANGHAI, China -- Canadas Milos Raonic has been eliminated from the Shanghai Masters after losing 7-6 (2), 6-4 to Switzerlands Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round. The 10th-ranked player from Thornhill, Ont., was coming off two straight final appearances, winning in Thailand before losing the final in Tokyo last week. Meanwhile, Roger Federers chances of qualifying for the ATP Tour Finals took a hit Thursday when he lost in three sets to Gael Monfils, the latest early-round loss for the 17-time Grand Slam champion. Monfils beat the former No. 1-ranked Federer 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 in the third round, extending the Swiss stars recent slide. Defending champion Novak Djokovic and top-ranked Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, moved into the quarter-finals with straight-set wins. Djokovic beat Italys Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-3, while Nadal rallied from 5-2 down in the second-set tiebreaker to down Argentinas Carlos Berlocq 6-1, 7-6 (5). Two of the tournaments other top seeded players were ousted: No. 3 David Ferrer lost to Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-3, and No. 4 Tomas Berdych was ousted by Nicolas Almagro 6-7 (6), 6-3, 7-6 (4). Federer, who has slipped to No. 7 in the rankings, was playing for the first time since losing in the fourth round of the U.S. Open. He was in need of a strong showing in Shanghai to secure a berth in the elite season-ending ATP Tour Finals in London -- a tournament he played every year since 2002. Federer is currently seventh in the standings, with only a slight lead over several other players vying to get into the eight-man field in London. He plans to play in Basel and Paris in hopes of making it into the Nov. 4-11 tournament. Federer fell to a player ranked outside the top 40 for the fourth time in his last six matches. He came into the match with a 6-1 record against Monfils, who returned to the tour recently after an injury layoff. Federer remained upbeat despite the loss -- and his subsequent defeat in doubles with Chinese partner Zhang Ze. He said the most important thing was not to worry about every setback. "Its pretty simple: You just keep on working hard, make sure that you get back on winning ways, then you become confident again, sort of get there," Federer said. "Monfils is a quality player, like some others," he said. "I lost some other matches this yeaar because I couldnt really perform at 100 per cent. [url=http://www.officialavalanchefanstore.com/authentic-martin-kaut-avalanche-jersey/]Martin Kaut Jersey[/url]. Probably shouldnt have played. But I dont really care having to explain some losses from time to time." As has been his problem in recent months, Federer struggled to find consistency, hitting 36 unforced errors, with many coming at critical points in the match. Still, he looked to have a chance to pull it out after fighting back from a break down in the second set. On Monfils serve in the next game, Federer hit an overhead smash to get a break point and then converted with a deeply angled crosscourt winner, pumping his fist as the decidedly pro-Federer crowd roared. But Federer was broken again early in the third set and couldnt muster another comeback. He had two more break chances in the seventh game, but couldnt convert either, even with Monfils looking spent, bending over to catch his breath after long rallies. Monfils, whos now ranked 42nd but has been as high as No. 7, said that even though Federer has not been as dominant as he used to be, with the likes of Djokovic, Nadal and Andy Murray contending for the majors, hes still no pushover. "A lot of people say, like, its not the same Rog because he got two other great players with him, Novak and Rafa. A third one plays also very good, Andy," he said. "But when hes on the court, hes still Roger. He can rip it from anywhere. He can do stuff that not many player can do." Monfils did notice, however, a slight dip in Federers game. "I think he miss a little bit more than he used to," he said. "I know he will try and go for his shot, but maybe he is a bit less confident." Djokovic, who plays Monfils next, said although Federers form has dropped this season, it would be a mistake to write him off. "Hes 17-time Grand Slam winner, one of the best players in the history of the game. If he says hes going to play better, work better, its definitely worth listening if he says it that way," he said. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin del Potro also advanced to the quarterfinals, strengthening their bids to qualify for the ATP Finals. Tsonga, one of several players chasing Federer, defeated Japans Kei Nishikori, 7-6 (5), 6-0, and del Potro moved through when Tommy Haas withdrew before their match with a back injury. 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