From the Heat. The Abbotsford Heat beat the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens) 3-2 in a shootout on Sunday afternoon at Copps Coliseum. The Heat remain in second place in the Western Conference with a 21-9-1-1 record and 44 points.
The goaltenders Joni Ortio and Dustin Tokarski were the difference makers for either team. The Heat did not lead the entire game, but were able to end a three game losing streak with their fourth shootout win of the season.
In the first period, the Heat had plenty of opportunities, but could not beat Dustin Tokarski who stopped all 13 shots he faced. At the other end, Joni Ortio turned aside all nine shots as the game was scoreless after 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring at 4:35 of the second period on a goal from Joonas Nattinen. The Heat tied the game at 9:56 with Dean Arsene’s first goal of the season assisted by Corban Knight and Max Reinhart. The tie did not last long as Joel Chouinard scored the go ahead goal at 11:18 to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.
The Heat tied the game at 4:47 of the third period on Ben Hanowski’s 10th goal of the season from Josh Jooris and Kane Lafranchise. Both teams traded opportunities, but could not score in the remaining minutes and overtime was needed.
The Heat had a four on three power play in the overtime session, but were unable to put anything past Tokarski, which led to a shootout. Markus Granlund and Corban Knight scored for the Heat, while Ortio stopped all four Bulldogs shooters to end the game 3-2 in favour of Abbotsford.
Ortio stopped 32 of 34 shots and picked up his 13th win of the season. Tokarski was charged with the loss stopping 39 of 41 shots.
The Heat will return home for a post-Christmas series with the Oklahoma City Barons (AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers) on Friday December 27th and Saturday December 28th at the AESC (7:00PM). December 27th will feature a Legends of Hockey appearance by Oilers legend Grant Fuhr, with an autograph session on the AESC concourse at 6pm.