The Abbotsford Heat capped a perfect road trip with a perfect performance in the shootout against the Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday evening.
The Heat rallied from an early 2-0 deficit behind a pair of goals by Blair Jones to send the game to a shootout, which they comprehensively dominated. All three Abby shooters – Markus Granlund, Corban Knight and Blair Jones – were successful in their attempts on Bulldogs goalie Robert Mayer, while Heat keeper Joni Ortio denied all three Hamilton tries.
Justin Courtnall and Martin St. Pierre staked Hamilton to an early lead, but the Heat battled back behind Jones, who notched an even-strength goal early in the second period and a power-play marker late in the frame.
After a scoreless third period and OT, the Heat (7-4-1, 15 points) dusted the ‘Dogs (5-2-3, 13 points) in the shootout, and now sit first in both the West Division and Western Conference (though it’s worth noting that their 12 games played are tied for the most at this early stage of the season).
Ortio, who made 35 saves in his second straight win, appears to be the Heat’s go-to guy in the crease for the time being as the Calgary Flames shuffled their goalies on Saturday.
The Flames recalled Reto Berra from the Heat and placed Joey MacDonald on waivers. MacDonald cleared, and was assigned to Abbotsford on Sunday.
With Berra unavailable vs. the Bulldogs, the Heat signed 40-year-old Scarborough, Ont. goalie coach David Harris to serve as Ortio’s backup for one night.
BUSY WEEK AT HOME
The Heat return home for four games at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre next week: Tuesday and Wednesday vs. the San Antonio Rampage, and Saturday and Sunday vs. the Toronto Marlies. The first three games start at 7 p.m., while Sunday’s contest is a 4 p.m. start.