Wow, where do you start with that game? What a crazy game for the first ever Coastal Conference game at the Dog Pound.
I guess you start with the beginning, with the Kings coming out as the better team. They seemed in a different gear than the Dogs. Maybe the Dogs felt the pressure at home. Maybe the Kings were the team with the better battle level. Whatever the case they ran up a shots on goal lead but they weren't able to find the scoreboard.Down to the final minutes of the period, the Dogs didn't have more than 1 or 2 shots on goal with the Kings blocking shot after shot. The Dogs went to a power play when Ben Schmidt was given 5 and a game for a board on Tyler Berkholtz - a hit the Bulldog forward did not return from. In the final minute of the period David Dziurzynski put a quick shot home after Mark MacMillan got the puck to the net for a 1-0 Dogs lead after 20.
The Dogs would take a 2-0 lead 8:35 into the second on the power play again as Mark MacMillan got credit for the goal on what was one of the longest scrambles of recent memory, as again the Dogs just got the puck to the net. Josh Watson would be incensed that there was no whistle, going after the referee behind the net to protest it but the goal stood. The Kings would lead the shots 29-14 after 40 but trail the Dogs by 2 goals.
With just 10:29 to play the Bulldogs took a 3-0 lead on a great cross ice feed put home by Mark MacMillan
only 11 seconds into a power play opportunity. It had me fooled thinking it was Mitch MacMillan taking the usual classic cross ice pass but it was actually Mark to roofed it from in tight. Most people at this time probably thought the game was over. I for some reason had a feeling it wasn't as there was still lots of hockey to be played. The Kings made it 3-1 just 1:11 later on the powerplay when Daniel Carr made a diving play to bang home a loose puck in front off the post and in. Less than a minute later the Dogs would go to the power play with Jordan Grant kicked out of the game for a check from behind. The Kings would kill it off and then go to a power play again where they made it 3-2 on a goal that saw the puck go high in the air and then in as the net was dislodged. The referee pointed to the net and signalled goal, then raised both arms up the in air...but not in a wave-off motion. I didn't know what the call was for a moment. The linesman were eventually called in for a discussion and the goal ended up standing. Less than 20 seconds later Matt Hatch was kicked out of the game for a hit from behind on a hit on Mat Bodie. A tough break to take for Hatch as right before he was sent to the box when the Kings scored their second goal, he took a hit that I thought was comparable on the halfwall from - Mat Bodie. Daniel Carr would get the equalizer banging home a rebound in the slot for his second of the game as sudden death OT would be required to find a winner.
The Dogs would have several great chances early to win it in OT, with a Casey Bailey-Tye Lewis chance coming painfully close in tight. Mitch MacMillan was then robbed by Josh Watson on the doorstep. Mat Bodie would be sent to the penalty box in OT for tripping, I read this one wrong as I thought he made a good play on the puck. It wouldn't matter though as the Dogs couldn't find the winner. The Kings would end up getting the game winning goal after the Bulldogs were denied a line change by the referee, resulting in a conversation between the coaching staff and the offical. Off the ensuing draw the Kings would get the puck to the Dogs net where it was slapped in by Chad Niddery as Frank Slubowskis leg just came off the post. I only half saw the goal as I was concerned with a Bulldog player struggling to remain upright to get off the ice after a King player dodged his check and he slammed head first backwards into the boards.
For the Dogs it's not a new situation. For the second straight series they will come out for game 2 at home down 1-0. What is new is that they were happy with their game last series in the opener. I'm not thinking that would be the case tonight. While the Dogs certainly had flashes of brilliance, the Kings seemed to compete harder more consistently thoughout the game. Bulldogs Head Coach and GM Nolan Graham was bang on in the pregame show when he said it's just about the little things when it comes to your compete level that are all so big when the stakes are so high. Winning all the battles, all the draws, races to pucks, and on and on. The Kings won more tonight, and the Dogs would be best served to win more tomorrow night if they hope to even the series at 1-1.
Should be another fun one in the Dog Pound!