ABBOTSFORD, BC—Brett Sterling needed less than 19 minutes to notch the first Chicago Wolves hat trick of the season as the Wolves topped the Abbotsford Heat 3-1 Friday night at Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

Defenseman Brad Hunt contributed assists on Sterling’s first two goals while goaltender Matt Climie (8-11-1) stopped 26 of 27 shots to earn the win for the Wolves (16-12-3-2).

Sterling stole the spotlight, but it was the Heat that struck first. Forward Ben Walter lit the lamp 4:05 into the first period, beating Climie down low on the power play.

But Abbotsford (17-11-3-4) was on its heels for the remainder of the first frame. Sterling tied the score at 10:17 with a power-play strike of his own past Abbotsford goaltender Leland Irving. Hunt and Darren Haydar earned assists.

Minutes later at 12:21, Sterling was set up by solid defensive play and tipped a flying puck into Irving’s mesh as Hunt and defenseman Adam Polasek registered assists.

To complete the first natural hat trick of his career, Sterling backhanded a stray puck from the board behind Irving’s net and it slipped past the goaltender’s skate and into the mesh at 18:33.

Sterling recorded his first hat trick since Nov. 29, 2007. He owns five hat tricks in American Hockey League play — all with the Wolves.

Trailing 3-1 to open the second period, the Heat made a change between the pipes and called on Danny Taylor to replace Irving (2-3-1). He finished the night with 7 saves. Taylor stopped all 20 shots he faced.

— Chicago Wolves

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