BRITISH COLUMBIA

Ortio picks up 19th win of the season as Abbotsford downs Hamilton 4-1

02/02/2014 12:46 EST | Updated 04/03/2014 05:59 EDT
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Abbotsford goaltender Joni Ortio had his shutout streak snapped on Saturday after 107 minutes and 41 seconds.

But he still came away with 26 saves and a victory as the Heat downed the Hamilton Bulldogs 4-1 in American Hockey League action.

After the game, Ortio joked about allowing just one goal on 61 shots this weekend.

"It could have been better," he said. "It felt good. You get into that zone when you feel like, bring it on, and they're not going to beat me with a shot that I can see. That's pretty much how I felt over the weekend."

The Finnish netminder kept the Bulldogs power play off the score sheet, killing all seven opportunities. But the recent success of the AHL's 27th-ranked penalty-killing unit can be tied to a more offensive approach.

"The only thing I can attribute it to is being a little more offensive-minded," said Heat head coach Troy Ward. "We got another short-handed goal tonight, and we got a good push, and it changes the complexion of the offensive team. Once you know the other team has the element of attack, it changes the mindset."

That short-handed goal came from Markus Granlund, who also had an assist in the game. Abbotsford now has three short-handed goals in their past five games after being the only team through 41 games with none.

The Bulldogs' power-play unit, third-worst in the AHL, has been held scoreless in its last 32 attempts. But Ortio doesn't think that's a poor reflection on the team itself.

"I don't think they're a weak team at all," said Ortio. "Just look at the past games we played against them. They're big, they're tough. We had a good week of practice, one of the best we've had so far. Guys played unbelievable, making my job easy, blocking shots like Granlund there in the dying minutes of the third, sacrificing their bodies. That's nice to see."

Max Reinhart, Josh Jooris and Derek Smith also scored for Abbotsford (28-14-4), who are 3-0-2 in their past five games.

Stefan Fournier scored for Hamilton (20-20-4). The Bulldogs have just one win in their past six games and scored just three goals in those five losses.

Robert Mayer made 26 saves in the loss.

Reinhart opened the scoring at the 7:56 mark of the first on the power play. Granlund crept to the right face-off dot to release a hard wrist shot and Reinhart was there to quickly bag the rebound for his 10th of the year.

Jooris doubled the lead with 42 seconds to go in the first. Sven Baertschi was checked off the puck in the high slot, but Jooris pounced on it and beat Mayer with a deke move for his sixth goal of the season, and his second is as many games.

"I'm playing with some great players," said Jooris. "The veteran experience of Corey Locke and Sven Baertschi's just got some great hands and vision. The pucks just seem to find me. Today I was trying to make a play and luckily Baertschi was there to go through the guy's legs right on my stick."

Jooris' recent offensive production may be keeping him in the lineup too. Fellow rookie Ben Hanowski was a healthy scratch Saturday since the Heat have had a sudden influx in healthy bodies, both from the injury reserve but also from players sent down by the Flames, like Blair Jones, Baertschi, Shane O'Brien and Smith. Tough guy Trevor Gillies made his Abbotsford debut Saturday as well after signing an AHL contract.

The team says the veteran depth is only helping.

"They've been through a lot," said Ortio. "They've seen pretty much everything. There's nothing you're going to throw at them that'll catch them off guard. That's really calming down our young guys too. That was huge for us this week."

Granlund made it 3-0 at 3:33 of the third on a short-handed goal. Carter Bancks chipped the puck to himself, creating a 2-on-1 rush with Granlund and the Finnish forward backhanded the Bancks' saucer pass past an outstretched Mayer.

The Bulldogs solved Ortio at 7:41 of the third as Greg Pateryn's shot was deflected by Fournier for just his second goal of the year.

"He had an unbelievable weekend," said Jooris of his netminder. "He has a competitive edge to him that I think sets him aside from other goalies. You see him battling in the crease. He doesn't like when other guy come there, he's whacking him. That gives our team confidence knowing that we have a real competitive goalie back there.

"He stood on his head and kept us in games this weekend."

Smith floated a shot from centre into the empty net with 45 seconds to play to round out the scoring.