A little over a month ago on October 28th, 2012, the Abbotsford Heat were undefeated in regulation coming into Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. That night after some stellar goaltending by Robert Mayer, the 'Dogs won a hard fought 2-1 victory with Aaron Palushaj netting the game winning marker.
Coming into tonight in Abbotsford, the Heat were undefeated in regulation on home ice, and had just trounced the Bulldogs the night before on the back of 4 powerplay goals.
Hamilton had a different idea for tonight though, producing a solid 3-0 shutout victory, outshooting the Heat 27-24.
After giving up 4 goals on 14 shots and getting pulled in his last start, Cedrick Desjardins was having none of it tonight. He made several highlight reel saves, including a couple that no one could figure out how he stopped them.
Brendan Gallagher got the scoring going early with some nice rushes and a great feed to Patrick Holland at 4:23 of the first period. It marked the end of a 15 game goal drought for Holland, and was the first time in a whopping 16 straight games that the Bulldogs managed to score first.
After battling to a stalemate in the second frame, the Bulldogs came out roaring to start the third period. First it was Steven Quailer converting on the powerplay (a very rare occurrence for the Bulldogs so far this year) with assists going to ECHL call up Stephane Chaput and Frederic St-Denis at 1:37 into the third.
Exactly 3 minutes later, Louis Leblanc took advantage of some traffic in front of the Heat net and banked a shot past Danny Taylor for his 3rd goal in just 4 full games and 2 injury shortened ones. Leblanc has 18 shots in those 6 games in spite of being used as a third line checking forward and getting almost zero powerplay time.
Brendan Gallagher was once again a force out there tonight, and as always he was up to no good if you ask the opposing goalie. By my count he ran Danny Taylor 4 times last night, and only got called for it once. Gallagher isn't too subtle in his goalie running attempts yet, but I'm sure he'll have that down pat by the time he gets to the NHL. Opposing teams are going to hate him.
The 'Dogs were certainly helped out tonight by the healthy scratch of stud Flames prospect Sven Baertschi, who's coach didn't appreciate his defensive play in a 5-1 blowout win. Umm... Okay coach.
One of the biggest highlights of the game was St-Denis making a brilliant block on a wide open net to prevent the Heat from getting on the board on their own powerplay. It was the one time tonight Desjardins was down and out, and St-Denis was there to bail him out.