The Hamilton Bulldogs (36-25-1-6) were handed a heart breaker in the west coast by giving up a late goal with 45 seconds remaining in the game against the Abbotsford Heat (33-26-4-5). The ‘Dogs couldn’t hold onto the lead twice in this affair while the Heat were playing from behind for most part of the game and only led once with the late game-winning goal by Matt Keith. Drew MacIntyre stood on his head stopping 41 of 44 shots, while the ‘Dogs were held to just 20 shots on goal.
With 13 games remaining which included the Abbotsford Heat six out of those 13 games, the ‘Dogs couldn’t afford to give up points to a desperate team fighting for a playoff position who were six points behind the ‘Dogs. Thus far in the season they split the season series with one victory a piece. Four of the six games remaining against the Heat will be played at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre giving the Heat an enormous advantage.
In his second game after missing five games, Dustin Boyd scored in the opening frame at the 13:28 mark to notch his 16th, the current team leading goal scorer leader. J.T. Wyman dropped a pass to Mathieu Carle along the right boards who sent the puck towards the net where it bounced off a defender’s stick and onto Boyd’s stick allowing him to backhand the shot over the blocker side of starting goaltender Leland Irving. With the assist by Carle, he is officially the all-time leaders in points by a defenceman with the Bulldogs.
The lead wasn’t held on for much long as the Heat replied back in 1:08 minutes. Drew MacIntyre had no chance as he had to make a kick save on a point shot and left a huge rebound for John Armstrong to put the puck into the back of the net. MacIntyre was the busiest Bulldog in the opening period stopping 17 of 18 shots faced.
Mathieu Carle would continue to build onto his franchise record in the second period with a goal of his own. Mathieu threw a harm wrister from the point and somehow got through traffic and beat the goaltender for a power play goal at 4:06 of the period. The goal was his 11th of the year, his career high. It looked like Macintyre would have to continue his excellent work if they were to come out with the two points but a costly misplay by the ‘Dogs allowed a Heat goal from an odd man rush at 18:51. The shots were 14-9 in favor of the Heat after 40 minutes of play.
In the third period, it was much of the same story. The ‘Dogs just couldn’t get going offensively and only accounted for five shots in the period. Meanwhile the Heat kept firing pucks on goal. Drew faced 12 shots in the period but unfortunately he wasn’t able to stop one shot with 45 seconds remaining. Matt Keith worked from the back of the net and into the front to bang in his team leading 19th of the year on a great individual effort.
The ‘Dogs still sit on the 6th seed but are in a three way tie for that spot. They are also three points shy of the second spot in the conference.
Next up for the ‘Dogs are the Abbotsford Heat once again on Saturday March 19th in Abbotsford at 10 p.m EST.