HAMILTON – Cedrick Desjardins turned aside 22 shots as the Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Abbotsford Heat 3-1 Sunday in Game 3 of the American Hockey League’s North Division final.
Hamilton’s victory in the penalty-riddled affair evened the best-of-seven series at a game apiece, with Game 3 set for Tuesday night in Abbotsford.
Ryan White, Mike Glumac and David Desharnais had goals for the Bulldogs, who bounced back from a 3-2 home loss in Game 1.
Jason Jaffray had the lone goal for the Heat, who saw their playoff road winning streak end at three.
Referee Frederic L’Ecuyer had a busy game, creating seven power plays for each team in the first two periods alone.
Neither coach appeared pleased with L’Ecuyer’s calls.
“It’s not my business to make the call, it’s your business to make the call,” Abbotsford coach Jim Playfair said when asked about the refereeing. “They can’t fine you.”
Hamilton coach Guy Boucher, normally subdued behind the bench, was furious after forward Mike Glumac was given a five-minute elbowing major for his hit on Heat centre Tyler Spurgeon in the second period.
“The play happens fast, and sometimes we can be wrong,” said Boucher. “But I saw it on the video that it was a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit.
“I don’t want to comment on the reffing. We have to play our game and adjust ourselves to a different ref every game, and that’s our responsibility,” he added.
The game opened with a frenetic pace, with three goals in the first nine minutes.
White scored a bizarre goal for Hamilton 2:30 in, flipping the puck toward the Abbotsford net from the blue-line. The simple shot fooled Heat goalie David Shantz and floated in for a goal.
“I just didn’t see it,” said Shantz. “With a scrum, you lose the puck sometimes in there.”
Jason Jaffray tied the game five minutes later. Seconds after a five-on-three power play for the Heat ended, Jaffray tipped a shot by Andy Delmore over the Desjardins’ shoulder.
The goal prompted some pushing and shoving around the net, resulting in a roughing penalty for Jaffray. On the ensuing power play, Glumac scored his team-leading fifth playoff goal, wristing a rebound over a prone Shantz.
Desharnais closed out the scoring 8:23 into the second period with his team on a four-on-three power play, tipping the puck past Shantz from in front of the net.
Abbotsford, which already had seven injured players heading into the game, picked up two more injuries.
Defenceman Staffan Kronwall left the game halfway through the first period after being high-sticked and shoved into the boards by Hamilton forward Ryan White. In the second period, centre Tyler Spurgeon was booed off the ice by the Hamilton crowd after taking an elbow from Glumac, falling awkwardly into the boards.
Kronwall and Spurgeon were sent to a local hospital for X-rays.
Notes: Centre Gabriel Dumont made his AHL debut for the Bulldogs after being signed to an amateur tryout contract by Hamilton on Friday, pushing Dany Masse out of the lineup. Dumont spent this season with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Drummondville Voltigeurs. … J.D. Watt and Lance Bouma, both healthy scratches for Abbotsford in Game 1, dressed for Game 2. They bumped Olivier Latendresse and John Lammers from the lineup. It was Bouma’s AHL debut, after spending the season with the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants. … Andy Delmore returned to the Heat blue-line after sitting out 14 games with an injury. He took Keith Seabrook’s spot in the lineup. … Hamilton players P.K. Subban, Tom Pyatt and Ben Maxwell are on call-up duty with the Montreal Canadiens and not in the Bulldogs’ lineup. Mathieu Carle, Max Pacioretty, Eric Neilson and Yannick Weber did not dress due to injuries.