A night after losing 5-1 to the league-leading Abbotsford Heat, the Bulldogs replied with a 3-0 victory Saturday in American Hockey League action.
"We got a little bit embarrassed yesterday," said Hamilton's Patrick Holland. "Against a good team you're going to get embarrassed on any night you don't come out to play."
Hamilton had just three shots on goal in the first period Friday but in the rematch the Bulldogs not only outshot the host Heat but also scored the game's first goal.
"We came out on a clean slate, tried to work hard and keep it simple," said Holland, who picked up the goal. "We got some lucky bounces off the start and put one in. It's rare for our team this year to get the first one. That really pumped the guys up."
Holland finished off a solo effort by Brendan Gallagher. Gallagher fought off a check behind the net and centred to Holland, who one-timed it past the glove of Abbotsford goaltender Danny Taylor at 4:23 in the first period.
"I love playing with (Gallagher)," said Holland. "He wins a lot of battles on the ice and that's exactly what he did on the goal — him and (Gabriel) Dumont both won their battles. The puck popped out to me and I just kind of chipped it over the goalie. It was a bit of luck, a bit of hard work, a bit of right place, right time."
Holland was a Calgary Flames draft pick in 2010 and notched 109 points in the Western Hockey League last season but was dealt to the Montreal Canadiens in the Mike Cammalleri trade.
"It's kind of funny that I know most of the guys over there, just from the camps," said Holland. "So there was a little added, not necessarily pressure, but excitement for the game for me."
Cedrick Desjardins made 24 saves for his first shutout of the season and 15th of his AHL career.
"It really helps the team out when we get big saves like you see night-in and night-out," said Holland. "(Both of our goalies) make highlight reel saves to keep us in games. Any good team is going to need that."
Desjardins made a huge save while his club killed a penalty to Gallagher. Ben Street centred the puck to Tyler Ruegsegger right in front but Desjardins squeezed his pads together, preserving his team's one-goal lead.
"We didn't make the most of our opportunities," said Ruegsegger. "We had some chances, the puck didn't go in the net. He made a couple big saves."
Robert Mayer played in net for Hamilton on Friday and was the victim of four power-play goals, but having Desjardins lead the team onto the ice made an instant difference.
"(Desjardins) brings the team confidence," said Levebvre. "He breathes confidence. It shows. The guys like to play in front of him."
Steve Quailer and Louis Leblanc also scored for Hamilton (7-9-2), who won for just the third time in their last 10 games. However, the win allows them to crawl out of the league basement.
"If I was the coach over there, I'd be proud of how they handled the 5-1 loss," said Abbotsford head coach Troy Ward of his Hamilton counterpart. "They came back, and they pushed pretty hard."
After T.J. Brodie was sent off for roughing early in the third period Hamilton padded their lead. Stefan Chaput's shot from the face-off circle was kicked right to Quailer in front of the net where he tucked it around Taylor's outstretched pad.
It was a rare goal conceded by Abbotsford's penalty killing unit, which ranks first in the league.
Hamilton made it 3-0 on a strange goal. Leblanc threw the puck toward the net from the sideboards and it seemed to deflect off of Heat defenceman Joe Callahan's skate and in at 4:37.
Taylor finished with 24 saves while Abbotsford (13-3-4) lost a game in regulation for the first time on home ice this season, but are still two points up on Syracuse for top spot in the AHL.