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Markus Granlund scores the winner in a shootout as Heat beat Bulldogs 3-2

Sunday, 12.22.2013 / 5:55 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Markus Granlund scores the winner in a shootout as Heat beat Bulldogs 3-2

HAMILTON - Markus Granlund scored the shootout winner as the Abbotsford Heat defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-2 in the American Hockey League on Sunday.

Dean Arsene and Ben Hanowski had goals for the Heat (21-9-2), while Joni Ortio stopped 32 shots.

Joonas Nattinen had a goal and an assist, and Joel Chouinard also scored for the Bulldogs (12-14-4). Dustin Tokarski made 39 saves.

Granlund scored on Abbotsford's second attempt of the shootout, while Corban Knight added a goal on the fourth attempt.

Ortio stopped all four Hamilton shots.

A penalty to Hamilton's Mike Blunden just 49 seconds into the first period put the Bulldogs on their heels, and the hosts struggled to exit their defensive zone early in the period.

It took Hamilton nearly seven minutes to register its first shot, but the Bulldogs began to manufacture offensive pressure with the trio of Nattinen, Justin Courtnall and Stefan Fournier establishing a cycle midway through the period.

The Heat forced several tough saves from Bulldogs goaltender Tokarski, with the sharpest of those coming with four and a half minutes to play in the period. Abbotsford broke into the offensive zone through the right wing, and Tokarski denied a low slap shot intended for his far post and smothered the loose puck.

The goaltender turned aside all 13 shots he faced in the first period, while his counterpart Ortio successfully stopped nine.

Hamilton capitalized on offensive pressure in the aftermath of a power play to open the scoring at 4:35 of the second period.

Morgan Ellis took a low slap shot from the point that bounced to Fournier in the low slot, and he tipped it ahead to Nattinen. The centre moved to his backhand and slotted the puck past a diving Ortio.

As Abbotsford chased an equalizer, it was Blunden who nearly doubled Hamilton's lead a minute and a half later when Martin St. Pierre found him with a cross-ice pass and the winger fired a rising wrist shot that Ortio knocked to the corner with his shoulder.

The Heat found the tying goal on a seemingly harmless play, as Arsene took a long-range wrist shot that eluded Tokarski and clipped his far post as it crossed the goal line at 9:56 of the second period.

Arsene's goal was his first of the season.

Hamilton re-established a lead at 11:18 of the second period, when another defenceman, Chouinard, scored his first goal of the season.

Jordan Owens found Nattinen in the high slot with a centring pass, and the forward responded to defensive pressure with a drop pass to Chouinard at the blue-line. The defenceman fired a low slap shot that moved through traffic and beat the screened Ortio.

The Heat struck early in the third period to level the game once again, as Hanowski pounced on a rebound to score at 4:47.

Tokarski reacted well to stop Josh Jooris' initial shot with his left pad, but Hanowski beat the Bulldogs' defenders to the rebound and chipped it high and past the downed goaltender.

The play was wide open and frantic in the final minutes of the third period as both teams searched for a winning goal.

Tokarski made two exceptional saves before the period came to a close, and denied Sven Baertschi from close range without a stick with 23 seconds to play.

Abbotsford enjoyed a minute and a half of 4-on-3 power-play time to open the overtime period, but could not find a way past Tokarski.

Quote of the Day

It was pretty unbelievable...I think (my family in France) is pretty much in front of the TV right now. I don't think I have to wake them up.

— 29-year-old Flyers forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare after scoring his first NHL goal
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