HAMILTON, ONTARIO – The Hamilton Bulldogs took the West Division-leading Abbotsford Heat to a shootout, backed by a two-point performance by forward Joonas Nattinen, defenceman Joel Chouinard’s first goal as a Bulldog and 39 saves from goaltender Dustin Tokarski, but the ‘Dogs couldn’t seal the deal in the shootout and fell 3-2 to the Heat on Sunday afternoon at Copps Coliseum.
After a scoreless first period, Nattinen opened the scoring with his fourth of the season at 4:35 of the second period, with assists from forward Stefan Fournier and defenceman Morgan Ellis.
Heat defenceman Dean Arsene tied the game 1-1 at 9:56 of the middle frame, assisted by forwards Corban Knight and Max Reinhart.
Hamilton regained the lead just over a minute later when Chouinard ripped a slap shot past Abbotsford goaltender Joni Ortio. Nattinen and forward Jordan Owens drew assists on the play.
The Heat tied the game 2-2 less than five minutes into the third period when forward Ben Hanowski pounced on a rebound and beat Tokarski. Forward Josh Jooris and defenceman Kane Lafranchise earned assists.
After a scoreless overtime period, Abbotsford outscored Hamilton 2-0 in the shootout off goals by forwards Markus Granlund and Corban Knight to drop the ‘Dogs.
Tokarski made 39 saves on 41 shots in the Bulldogs net in the shootout loss. Ortio made 32 saves on 34 shots and stopped all three Hamilton shootout attempts for the Heat in the win.
The Bulldogs and the Heat both went 0-for-4 on the power play.