ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Abbotsford Heat forward Chris Chucko made up for a couple of missed scoring chances in a big way.
Chucko scored the game-winner early in the second period and Leland Irving made 33 saves helping the Heat to a 4-1 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs in American Hockey League action Tuesday night. Chucko redirected Matt Pelech’s point shot past screened Hamilton starter Cedrick Desjardins.
Chucko almost gave his team an early lead as he managed to put the puck past Desjardins, but could not beat the post.
“I missed one in the first and I missed one earlier in the second,” said Chucko of his chances Tuesday night. “Its’ been a long go, but we’ve been getting the results and that’s the most important thing.”
Heat forward Jason Jaffray opened the scoring late in the first period when he one-timed a pass from Carsen Germyn from his knees.
The Heat made it 3-0 lead in the second period with a pair of goals. Nearly ten minutes after Chucko had made it 2-0, John Negrin ended Desjardins’ night when his point shot went in off a post to give the Heat a three-goal cushion.
Desjardins finished the night allowing three goals on 24 shots before being replaced by Curtis Sanford.
“They played really well,” Bulldogs head coach Guy Boucher said. “It took us a good two periods before we got going tonight. We didn’t deserve it tonight and the other team did.”
J.D. Watt caused sparks to fly early in the third period when he hit Bulldogs forward Ben Maxwell from behind in the neutral zone. The Heat tough guy ended up dropping the gloves with Hamilton defenceman Alex Henry, and a total of 24 penalty minutes were handed out on the play as a result.
Abbotsford (10-7-3) took a 4-0 lead just past the midway mark of the third period when Keith Seabrook hit a streaking Cam Cunning for his second of the season.
“Everyone stuck to the structure tonight,” said Chucko. “It didn’t look like we were forcing it or running around. Everyone kind of knew where to be and we didn’t make it hard on ourselves.”
Hamilton (9-3-3) finally got on the board when David Desharnais managed to get one past Irving in a scramble, spoiling the Heat starter’s bid for his second shutout of the season.
“He’s been unbelievable, he’s been really great in there,” said Pelech of Irving. “He’s been stopping the puck well and helping us d-men by moving the puck out there.”
Sanford finished the night giving up one goal on 17 shots.
The two teams meet again Wednesday at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.