COPPS COLISEUM - HAMILTON ONT
11 AM PDT - COUNTRY 107.1 FM
HAMILTON ONT - The pressure of this series, after just one game, has fallen clearly on the shoulders of the Hamilton Bulldogs as they get set for Game Two of the North Division Final against the Abbotsford Heat on Sunday morning here in the Steel City.
The Heat posted a 3-2 win in the series opener on Thursday night in a game that they never trailed. While the Heat did take more penalties than Heat Head Coach Jim Playfair would have liked, the Heat Penalty Kill stood tall, killing off all six Bulldog power plays.
"We were OK on our penalty kill, but we took too way to many penalties...retaliatory penalties," Playfair said. "Even though we won, we never made them feel under siege or get a good net presence in front of their goaltender. There are lots of areas that we know we could get better at going into Sunday's game."
Strong words from the winning coach, but words that rang true throughout the line up "We did the job defensively, but know that we can do more," added Gord Baldwin, who had a goal in Thursday's victory. "We had success against Rochester by playing our game at both ends of the rink. We need to get back to that against this team or they will take advantage."
It seems as though both coaches felt they could get more out of their teams. "Our team wasn't ready on Thursday, they (The Heat) were," Hamilton Head Coach Guy Boucher told the Hamilton spectator on Thursday night. ""We didn't do what we needed to create chances," Boucher said."If we're not relentless, if we don't fight for our lives every shift we have no chance of winning this series."
With both coaches not satisfied, expect an amped up, emotional game on Sunday morning. Jim Playfair is going to juggle his line-up and insert a little more grit into a newly formed energy line on Sunday. JD Watt will be re-inserted into the line-up, as he will replace Olivier Latendresse. Watt will be joined on his line by newcomer Carter Bancks
, whose tenacity in the WHL as Captain of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and his hard work in Abbotsford has earned him a spot in the heart of the energy line for the Heat. Joining Bancks and Watt on this line will be another player who earned his reputation in the Western League for his ability to finish checks and play hard every shift. That would be the newest member of the Abbotsford Heat, former Vancouver Giants Captain Lance Bouma
, who looks right now like he may take over for John Lammers in the Heat line-up.
Bouma, who has just finished his fourth season with the Vancouver Giants, has already had a tonne of playoff experience in his young hockey career. Over his past four seasons in Vancouver, Bouma has been a part of the 2007 Memorial Cup Championship Team with the Giants, and has played in 12 playoff series, including back to back Western Conference finals appearances over the past two seasons. In 16 post season games this past playoffs with Vancouver, Bouma scored four times and added 13 assists for 17 points.
The Heat expects to keep the rest of their line-up intact: (subject to change)
15 - Jaffray 11- Backlund 37 - Van der Gulik
27 - Sutter 58 - Spurgeon 85 - Rheault
8 - Cunning 10 - Murray 52 - Wahl
10 - Bouma 34 - Bancks 19 - Watt
28 - Baldwin 3 - Meyers
5 - Mitera 17 - Pelech
12 - Kronwall 2 - Seabrook
1 - Shantz 35 - Irving
Hamilton has not announced any changes, although Curtis Sanford did dress as Cedric Desjardins backup in game one. Sanford was injured in the Bulldogs 4-0 win over Abbotsford in the opening period of the March 27th contest. Sanford missed the remainder of the season and the entire first round of the playoffs.
Schedule: (All times Pacific)
Game One - Heat 3 @ Bulldogs 1 (GWG - BRETT SUTTER)
Game Two - Sunday, May 2nd - Heat @ Bulldogs - Copps Coliseum - Hamilton ON - 11 AM
Game Three - Tuesday, May 4th - Bulldogs @ Heat - Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre - Abbotsford BC - 7 PM
Game Four - Thursday, May 6th - Bulldogs @ Heat - Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre - Abbotsford BC - 7 PM
*Game Five - Saturday, May 8th - Bulldogs @ Heat - Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre - Abbotsford BC - 7 PM
*Game Six - Monday, May 10th - Heat @ Bulldogs - Copps Coliseum - Hamilton ON - 4:30 PM
*Game Seven - Tuesday May 11th - Heat @ Bulldogs - Copps Coliseum - Hamilton ON - 4:30 PM
As mentioned, Lance Bouma
has signed an ATO contract with the Abbotsford Heat. Bouma was a 3rd round pick (78th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Bouma, 20, from Provost, AB., has just completed his 4th season with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. Bouma scored 14 goals and 43 points in 57 games this season, adding 17 points in 16 playoff games.