12/06/2012 12:56 PM
Story By: Stuart McComish
HAMILTON, Ont. –Patrick Holland of the Hamilton Bulldogs was only credited with one shot on goal last Saturday night but he made it count.
The rookie right winger’s goal at 4:23 of the first period was all the offence the Bulldogs needed as they rode a 24-save performance from goaltender Cedrick Desjardins to a 3-0 road win over the Abbotsford Heat.
The win was the first in three games for the Bulldogs and improved their record to 7-9-1-1 for 16 points, fifth in the American Hockey League’s North Division. The previous night the Heat, the top team in the Western Conference, outshot the Bulldogs 28-16 and scored four power-play goals in a 5-1 win.
“I thought we came out strong in the first game, but we ran in to some penalty trouble and that killed our momentum and they scored two power-play goals,” Holland said Wednesday as the Bulldogs wrapped up practice at Copps Coliseum. “In the second game we got on the board first and were able to build off it.”
Holland’s goal came after some diligent work by linemates Brendan Gallagher and Gabriel Dumont below the goal line. Gallagher slipped the puck to Holland, stationed at the lip of the crease and he snapped it by the left arm of Heat goaltender Danny Taylor.
“I don’t shoot quite as often as I should, I guess, but that one was definitely lucky, I can’t argue that,” said Holland. “It was a combination of things and luck and hard work were definitely involved. My linemates were key to that. It was nice to get it on the board.”
Holland’s goal was his first since October 19th when he scored in a 4-1 win over the visiting Toronto Marlies. The goal also brought an end to a 15-game stretch in which the Bulldogs allowed the opposition to open the scoring. The Bulldogs went 4-9-1-1 during that span.
“There was something going on there, for some reason we weren’t getting of to the starts we wanted, but on Saturday night we did,” said Holland. “We came out strong and played hard right from the beginning and that goal gave us the boost we needed.
“For me, I was pretty excited to get the goal, not just for the team, but it was also my first goal in a while. It was a big one for many reasons and I think it was exciting for the whole team. For me it was only one goal, but it was a big one for the team.”
A resident of Lethbridge, Alberta, who turns 21 on January 7th, Holland’s goal ended a nine-game point drought. In 2011-2012 Holland finished his season with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League with a 20-game point run in which he recorded five goals and 34 assists for 39 points. He also fashioned a 12-game streak, contributing nine goals and 19 assists for 28 points.
“My streaks last season were mostly all assists. I hadn’t had a point here in a while and it does weigh you down a bit, but you can’t focus too much on it especially if the team isn’t winning.”
Holland has two goals and four assists for six points in 18 games.
“Points aren’t always a great indication of how well a guy is playing and there are always things you can work on that will help you get points. Sometimes they come and sometimes they don’t, players know that and so does everybody watching.”
The Bulldogs’ road trek continues at 7:30 p.m. Friday when they visit the Syracuse Crunch, which sits atop the Eastern Conference with a record of 13-5-1-1 that includes two wins this season over the Bulldogs. Hamilton visits the Hershey Bears at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“Abbotsford and Syracuse are different teams, but they are both at the top of the league,” said Holland. “We know we can compete with teams like that. We have beaten Abbotsford twice and while we have lost both games against Syracuse, we need to start on a clean slate against them. We know we didn’t play those games the way we wanted to. If we can come out strong and play like we did in the second Abbotsford game we can make it a different game. We need to be strong in every zone on the ice against them.”
The Bulldogs return home to host the Lake Erie Monsters at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.