A four-goal deficit was too deep a hole for the Abbotsford Heat to haul themselves out of on Wednesday, as they fell 5-3 to the Hamilton Bulldogs on the road.
The Heat dominated in the shots-on-goal department, out-shooting the Bulldogs 45-22. But the hosts put a trio of pucks past Abby starting goalie Danny Taylor in the first period and welcomed Barry Brust, who replaced Taylor after the opening frame, with a quick goal to start the second.
Abbotsford mounted a valiant rally in the third – Max Reinhart and Roman Horak scored to cut the deficit in half, and after Joey Tenute’s second of the game boosted the Bulldogs’ lead back to 5-2, Ben Street tallied for the Heat at the 15:13 mark to draw them back to within two.
But that was as close as the Heat would get, as the Bulldogs dealt Abbotsford’s flickering playoff hopes another blow.
The Heat (30-29-9, 69 points) sit 11th in the Western Conference, which is just two points back of the eighth and final playoff spot. But they’ve already played 68 of their 76 regular season games already, and the teams directly ahead of them – the Chicago Wolves, Milwaukee Admirals, Rockford IceHogs and Oklahoma City Barons – each have at least three games in hand.
Heat defenceman Steven Seigo, signed to an amateur tryout contract out of Michigan Tech University last week, notched an assist in his pro debut, setting up Street’s goal.
• The Heat finish off a short three-game road trip with a rematch against the Bulldogs on Friday and a date with the Toronto Marlies on Saturday.
• Forward Mike Testwuide returned to the Heat lineup after serving a three-game suspension. He was involved in a lengthy second-period scrap with Kyle Hagel of the Bulldogs.
First, second and third-period highlight video clips from the Heat-Bulldogs game are below.