The Abbotsford Heat playoff hopes are fading fast as the Heat dropped the first of two straight in Hamilton on March 27th by the score of 5-3. In what was a sluggish and lack lustre affair for the Heat, the Hamilton Bulldogs caught some lucky breaks and raced out to a large lead despite being out-shot 45-22. The game did get close in the first half of the third period, but for the most part, it was all Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to goals by Michael Bournival, Frederic St-Denis, and Joey Tenute. All three goals came after the midway part of the first period as Heat goaltender Danny Taylor gave up three goals on just ten shots.
Danny Taylor was pulled from the game after the first period.
“It was a game where we wanted to come out and play well, now we’ve got to win every game that we can to give ourselves a chance at playoffs. We have been kind of slow at home to start in the past home games, we all talked about having a good start and tonight we had a good start,” Joey Tenute of the Bulldogs said about the fast first period start.
The Bulldogs continued the goal scoring in the second period with a power play goal by Greg Pateryn who scored on a long point shot from the blue line which beat Heat goaltender Barry Brust who came in to start the second period. Tempers also flared in the second period as the Heats Mike Testwuide and the Bulldogs Kyle Hagel squared off in a main event fight at 6:21 of the second.
In the third period, the Heat seemed to pick up some momentum with two quick goals by Max Reinhart and Roman Horak which cut the lead to 4-2. But the things changed back into the Bulldogs favour as Joey Tenute scored his second goal of the game to put the game away. The Heat would add another late goal to cut the lead to 5-3. Despite out shooting the Bulldog 45-22, the game was never really close, as the Bulldogs led the entire game.
The Heat and Bulldog will play again on Friday night in the final meeting of the season between the two teams..
“Abbotsford is fighting for their lives too and I think that they are probably feeling good about themselves right now even though they lost the game. They kind of took it to us a little at times in the second and third period, so maybe they’re thinking they have some momentum going into Friday, but we got the win. We should feel good and we should have a good solid practice tomorrow and come right back at them Friday. A quick start is important, and we will have to dictate the play the way we want to,” Tenute said about looking ahead to Friday’s game.
After starting the season at 15-6-3-3, the Abbotsford Heat record is now 30-29-3-6, the have won just four games out of their last 19. The Heat are battling for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. and they also have games played going against them as Chicago Wolves, Oklahoma City Barons, and Rockford Ice Hogs all have games in hand as the final push for the playoffs continue. Both the Wolves and Baron have five more games in hand to play over the Heat.