ABBOTSFORD, B.C. -- Texas Stars centre Dustin Jeffrey flew under the Abbotsford Heat's radar, but he's sure to attract more attention in the future.
The 26-year-old spoiled Abbotsford's annual morning school day game Tuesday as he scored his first two goals of the American Hockey League season to lift the Texas Stars over the Abbotsford Heat 3-1.
Entering Tuesday's game, Jeffrey had just three assists in 33 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Dallas Stars and Texas Stars.
"It's been a difficult year," he said. "To get these two goals is big. I thought I've been playing pretty well, helping our team in different ways with the penalty kill and whatever they need, so to contribute this way at a 10:30 a.m. game is big."
"Dustin's a great hockey player," added teammate Brendan Ranford. "He's been chugging a little bit of late trying to get that puck into the net a He's been going hard to the net and a lot of bounces weren't going in for him, but tonight they were."
Jeffrey's second goal proved to be the game winner. Ranford sped down the left side of the ice and dished the puck off to Jeffrey who buried it just under Joey MacDonald's blocker from the top of the left circle at 8:55 of the middle period.
"(Jamie Oleksiak) made a great breakout play," said Jeffrey. "We ended up having a four on three rush. I just took a step back and let the guys charge the net, (Ranford) hit me with the pass and it went right through the screen."
Brett Richie had a goal, while Ranford picked up two assists.
Oleksiak and Scott Glennie each added an assist in the victory.
"We knew it was going to battle," said Jeffrey. "We knew that for us to be successful we had to play a strong game and take our chances when they came."
Jack Campbell stopped 23 shots in the win for Texas (34-16-8).
"Campbell hasn't played in forever because of the injury he's been having," Ranford said. "He's an exceptional goalie a He's always square to the shooter and he played very well for us and that's what we need."
Sven Baertschi had the lone goal for the Heat (33-19-6), who are now winless in their last five games.
"I thought it was a great game from both sides," Baertschi said. "It was up and down, and great speed, too. It was a lot of fun to play today. We just couldn't put the puck in."
MacDonald stopped 22 of 25 shots in the loss.
Texas went 0-for-1 in on the power play while Abbotsford was 0-for-3.
"In general, they were opportunistic," said Abbotsford head coach Troy Ward. "We had a couple of those chances, and we didn't score a They were just a little bit more opportunistic this morning."
At 14:41 of the first period, MacDonald denied Texas forward Colton Sceviour when he stacked his pads to make a stop.
Baertschi opened the scoring less than a minute later with a snap shot from the bottom of the right circle, beating Campbell high glove side.
Jeffrey tied the game at 19:21 with his first goal of the season. Glennie found the puck down low and worked it behind the net to Ranford who found Jeffrey in front for the easy tap-in.
"Glennie made a pretty good play to draw two of the defenders to him and that left Ranford open," explained Jeffrey. "He made a good play coming around the net and I just tried to create space in front of the net. He made a great play to find me and it basically went right off my stick."
Brett Richie gave Texas a 3-1 lead at 10:29 of the third period on an unassisted breakaway, splitting two Heat defenders and going backhand high over a sprawling MacDonald.