In a tightly contested match against a strong opponent, the Hamilton Bulldogs emerged victorious, earning their 2nd regulation win in their 6th game this season.
Robert Mayer is the common factor to both those regulation wins, putting in a solid afternoon’s work stopping 28 of 29 shots sent to him.
Scoring was opened by Abbotsford in the 12nd period, with AHL leading goal scorer Roman Horak getting his 7th against Hamilton’s 4th line. Horak had an impressive night, totaling 8 shots on net. Hamilton responded with their own even strength goal by the third line with Geoffrion putting home a play started by a shot pass by Pateryn.
The difference between the clubs was made by a second period powerplay goal by Palushaj, assisted by Geoffrion and Nash in an impressive display of puck movement with the man advantage that lead to Palushaj tipping home Geoffrion’s shot from the slot. Hamilton went 1 for 3 with the man advantage, improving to 3 in 28 and became the first team to solve the Heat’s penalty kill this season.
The Bulldogs held the balance of play throughout a scoreless 3rd period, giving Robert Mayer all the help he needed to close out the win. Mayer came up with a particularly solid save late in the 3rd on Abbotsford’s best chance to equalize, but in general the Dogs kept the puck towards the other team’s net in the final frame. This was in particular thanks to Bulldogs’ top puck possession unit of Holland-Bournival-Gallagher/Beaulieu-St.Denis.
The “CHL line” had its third consecutive 10+ shot game, bringing them to 35 in the 3 games they have played together.
Both even strength goals scored occurred with Tinordi-Pateryn pairing on the ice. This unit, which has struggled as of late, had a fairly good night as shutdown defenders which reflects a general improvement in the ability of the Bulldog’s blueline to handle their defensive responsibilities Nathan Beaulieu also deserves praise for how he’s learned to restrain himself and play within the team’s structure. In general the rookie defense group has appeared far less callow during the past two games than they did to start.
Blake Geoffrion, after being under some criticism lately for lackluster play and a demotion to 3rd line center, factored in on both goals for the Bulldogs.
Opposing star forward Sven Baertschi was largely kept quiet this game, a lot of credit can be given to the pairing of Pateryn and Tinordi for that as they frequently were matched against him. Tinordi also crushed Baertschi with a big check in the third period.
Jonas Nattinen had his best night of the season, being a key part of the third line. Not on the scoresheet but had 4 SOG and was +1 with the rest of his line.
Alain Berger was quiet in his debut, but maybe the coach saw something he liked because he was out to help hold onto the lead in the defensive zone at the very end of the game.
Nash-Ellis had a quiet, safe night on the 3rd pairing. 2nd line of Quailer-Dumont-Palushaj was neither particularly good or bad. 4th line was largely ineffectual and responsible for 2 of Hamilton’s 3 penalties against.
Stats By Line:
Holland-Bournival-Gallagher: 10 shots, Even
Quailer-Dumont-Palushaj: 6 shots, Even
Blunden-Geoffrion-Nattinen: 8 shots, 1 goal, +1
Berger-Boyce-Sortini: 1 shot, -1
Beaulieu-St.Denis: 2 shots, Even
Tinordi-Pateryn: 1 shot, Even (1 For, 1 Against)
Nash-Ellis: 2 shots, Even
Mayer: .966 save percentage, 28 saves.
Hamilton: 2 goals, 30 shots, 1 for 3 PP
Abbotsford: 1 goal, 29 shots, 0 for 3 PP