With the American Hockey League’s North Division pennant for the 2009-10 season just waiting to be raised, the Hamilton Bulldogs are now working on the franchise record book.
Saturday’s night’s 4-0 blanking of the Abbotsford Heat was the team’s 12th shutout of the season. That ties the franchise record for most shutouts in one season while the win was Hamilton’s 49th of the season, also equaling the franchise record for most regular season victories. At the same time, the club posted its 26th road win establishing a franchise record for most regular season road decisions.
The Bulldogs have been on the losing end of only seven regulation losses on the road this season and with only two road games remaining in the schedule, Hamilton will set a new franchise record for fewest regulation losses on the road in one season as the record currently stands at 12.
Overall in the AHL, Hamilton is second with 107 points, six behind the Hershey Bears, who sit atop the East Division. Hershey has also clinched its division.
Hamilton opened the scoring at 3:42 of the first period while on the power play. David Desharnais, who would score twice in the game and have a four-point performance, received the puck from Aaron Palushaj before centering a pass to P.K. Subban. Subban one-timed a shot past the blocker of Abbotsford goaltender David Shantz.
Subban’s marker was his 11th power-play goal of the season, setting yet another franchise record for most PP goals by a Bulldogs’ defenceman in one season. The previous mark of 10 was set by Yannick Weber in 2008-2009.
During the first period Hamilton starting goaltender Curtis Sanford appeared to injure himself and was replaced by Cedrick Desjardins after stopping five shots.
The ‘Dogs added their second goal at 16:42 of the period. Brock Trotter dished a pass to Yannick Weber, who was positioned at the point. Weber fed a pass to the right side of the net where Desharnais one-timed a shot past the glove of Shantz.
While on a 5-on-3 power play, Desharnais gave Hamilton a 3-0 lead at 2:46 of the second frame. Subban gave the puck to Trotter, who sent a cross-crease pass to Desharnais. Shantz sprawled across the ice but Desharnais flipped the puck over the goaltender and into the top of the net.
Trotter, who had three points on the night, completed Hamilton’s scoring at 11:39 after picking up a rebound from a Desharnais and sliding across the goal line.
Hamilton outshot the Heat, 25-21, before a crowd of 4,509.
The Bulldogs return home to host their archrival the Toronto Marlies for the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame Game on Thursday (April 1) at 7:30 p.m. at Copps Coliseum.