Heat strike first in division final series

The Hamilton Bulldogs were defeated by the Abbotsford Heat, 3-2, in the first game of their American Hockey League North Division final series on Thursday at Copps Coliseum.

David Shantz stopped 30 of 32 while Gord Baldwin had the game-winning goal for Abbotsford in the best-of-seven opener.

Following a scoreless opening period, the Heat struck first, scoring at 9:40 of the second stanza. Mark Mitera blasted a shot from the point. While positioned in front of the net, David Van der Gulik tipped the puck over the shoulder of goaltender Cedrick Desjardins.

The Bulldogs tied the game three minutes later. David Desharnais stripped the puck off a Heat player before skating down the ice on a two-on-one. Desharnais dished the puck to Aaron Palushaj, who tapped the puck past Shantz.

The Heat regained the lead less than a minute later. Gord Baldwin received the puck from Mitch Wahl while positioned at the top of the right faceoff circle. Baldwin blasted a shot that beat Desjardins.

Brett Sutter gave Abbotsford a 3-1 lead at 1:21 of the final frame. Jon Rheault fired a shot on net from the right side boards that was stopped by Desjardins. Sutter grabbed the rebound and jammed the puck past Desjardins.

The ‘Dogs added a late goal with 46 seconds left in the game. Ryan White received the puck from Mike Glumac before firing a shot on net. Brock Trotter deflected the shot past Shantz and into the net.

A crowd of just 1,896 took in the game.

The Bulldogs will host the Heat for Game 2 of the series at 2 p.m. on Sunday (May 2) at Copps.