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[HKY] Jan 12, 2013

Ice picks: AHL's best Saturday bets

By Chris Battaglia

Chicago Wolves at Abbotsford Heat

The Heat got top prospect Sven Baertschi back for two home games against Rochester last weekend, which Abbotsford split, losing the first and winning the second. Now, Baertschi will report to Calgary Flames training camp along with T.J. Brodie, who leads Heat defencemen in points this season with 20.

Regardless of who gets called up, Abbotsford is 3-6-0-1 in its last 10 games and needs to turn things around if it wants to stay in the playoff picture. Perhaps a long home stretch covering the next six games will help, since the Heat are 11-4-2-1 at home.

Chicago has trouble scoring goals on the road, with only 36 in 15 games. Zack Kassian, third on the Wolves with 20 points, sat out last game and will likely attend Vancouver Canucks training camp. Without Kassian to help with scoring, Chicago presents Abbotsford with a perfect opportunity to rebuild its home dominance.

Pick: Heat

Toronto Marlies at St. John’s IceCaps

With Friday night’s game postponed due to weather, the Marlies and IceCaps will open their doubleheader on Saturday with a rescheduled game on Sunday afternoon. St. John’s played in Toronto on Dec. 22 and lost 4-2 in the teams’ only previous meeting this season.

The Marlies have not been a strong road team this season, with an 8-8-1-1 record away from Toronto. But the IceCaps are 6-10-1-1 at home and haven’t won in St. John’s since November - a six-game winless streak.

The IceCaps returned home from an eight-game road trip last weekend and earned one point in a doubleheader against the Manchester Monarchs. Don’t expect them to do any better against one of the top teams in the Western Conference like Toronto.

Pick: Marlies

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