AHL

Tokarski stars as Bulldogs hold off Heat

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The Canadian Press
1/4/2014 12:32:00 AM
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ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Dustin Tokarski made 28 saves as the Hamilton Bulldogs defeated the Abbotsford Heat 2-1 in American Hockey League action Friday night.

Tokarski made 13 of his stops in the third as his club hung on for the upset victory.

Justin Courtnall and Christian Thomas scored for Hamilton (16-14-4), which is 4-0-1 in their last five games.

Sven Baertschi scored for the Heat and Joni Ortio stopped 20 shots for Abbotsford (23-10-2), just the third loss of the year for the Finnish netminder.

The Bulldogs opened the scoring at 7:13 of the first. Courtnall squeezed between defender Brady Lamb and the left boards, rushed around the net and wrapped it around before Ortio before defenceman Chris Breen could get to the far post. That gives Courtnall three goals on the season and his first in 12 games.

The Heat had no shots through the first six periods despite having an extended power play during that time. They did however have Kane Lafranchise hit the post and then Ben Street found the iron later in the period.

Midway through the second the Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead. Louis Leblanc put puck towards the net and it ricocheted to Thomas in the slot. Thomas then one-timed it past Ortio for his third of the year.

The Heat got on the board less than four minutes into the third period. Mark Cundari fed a cross-crease pass to Baertschi, who one-timed it past Tokarski before he fully reacted for the Swiss sniper's second goal in as many games.

However, that's as close as they came. Brett Olson had the best chance to tie the game with a couple shots from in close with less than a minute to go, but Tokarski and the Hamilton defence held on.

The two teams face each other again Saturday at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

Hamilton Bulldogs (Photo: AHL)

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(Photo: AHL)
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