HAMILTON - It was a night of redemption for the Abbotsford Heat.
Three days after falling to Hamilton, Abbotsford scored three goals in 53 seconds en route to a convincing 5-1 win over the Bulldogs Saturday in American Hockey League play.
"We wish that this could have come on Wednesday, but we played a complete game tonight," said Heat forward Corey Locke. "We had everything from power-play goals to big penalty kills, and it was a whole group effort. Everyone chipped in tonight, and that's how we're going to win."
Locke, Chad Billins, Ben Street, Sven Baertschi and Max Reinhart each had goals for the Heat (35-23-7), who dropped 10 of their past 11 games heading into Saturday, and Aaron Dell made 36 saves for the win.
Nathan Beaulieu had the lone goal for the Bulldogs (28-32-5). Dustin Tokarski stopped 19 shots before being replaced to begin the third period. Devan Dubnyk stopped all five shots he faced in relief.
Tokarski made an exceptional save to keep the game scoreless 12 minutes into the first period, sliding to his right to deny the Heat in close at his far post.
But a night that started so well for the Hamilton goaltender quickly turned sour.
Locke, who had set up the previous chance, provided the finish as the Heat opened the scoring at 14:28.
Locke moved into the low slot with Kane Lafranchise holding the puck along the boards, and tipped a slap-pass from the defenceman high and past Tokarski.
Abbotsford doubled its lead just 19 seconds later, when Billins fired a wrist shot from the point that moved through a screen and surprised Tokarski.
The Heat scored their third goal in quick succession at 15:21.
Tokarski sprawled to deny Josh Jooris' initial shot as the forward crashed the net, but Street was on hand at the post to slot the rebound into the open net.
Hamilton head coach Sylvain Lefebvre rued his team's missed opportunities on the power play early in the first period, that could have radically changed the outcome.
"We started pretty well, and it would have been nice if our power play had clicked to start the game," he said. "We had some scoring chances as well, but when they scored their first goal on a power play, it deflated us and we had some bad shifts.
"Down 3-0 after the first, it's tough to get back."
Dell worked hard to preserve his shutout bid in the second period. Nick Tarnasky was unguarded in the low slot, but Dell dropped into his butterfly to deny the Hamilton winger from point-blank range six minutes in.
Louis Leblanc was whistled for closing his hand on the puck at 9:22, and Abbotsford quickly extended its lead on the ensuing power play.
The combination of Greg Olsen, Derek Smith and Baertschi sprung a three-on-two rush, and after Olsen was turned back, Smith slipped a short pass to Baertschi, who slapped a one-time shot past Tokarski from close range at 10:00 of the second.
Dell was forced into action late in period, and kicked aside a tipped shot before recovering to deny another hard wrist shot with his right pad.
Teammates have been impressed by the young goaltender, who played just his sixth game for the Heat on Saturday.
"He's played great," said Locke of Dell. "He gave us a chance to win both of these games in Hamilton. We couldn't do it for him on Wednesday, but here he got some run support.
"He looks confident in there now, and that's what you want from a goalie."
Dubnyk came in to replace Tokarski to begin the third period after Tokarski allowed four goals on 23 shots.
Lefebvre argued that his decision to change goaltenders was less an indictment of Tokarski's play than an attempt to re-energize his team.
"Sometimes, you try to get the troops going and you use different tactics," he said. "(Tokarski) played really well in the first two games since he came back. Tonight, he didn't make the big saves that we needed, but I'm not going to make him the culprit. That's not the case.
"I was thinking that I was going to go with Dubnyk [on Tuesday], so I thought I might as well give him the period to get ready."
Dell's shutout bid was spoiled at 3:59 of the third. Christian Thomas' initial shot from the blue-line hit a Heat defender and bounced to Beaulieu at the left faceoff dot. But with Dell out of position, the defenceman easily fired a shot into the near side of the net.
It was a letdown for the Heat, who Locke believed suffered a few sluggish moments despite the win.
"We would have liked to keep pushing forward," he said. "We had a few lags and a bad start to the third period. They were all over us until the first timeout, and we've got to figure those sorts of things out.
"But we got the two points and we got ourselves out of our slump."
Reinhart added an empty-net goal at 19:11.