The AVB snapped their winless-in-six slide with a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Chilliwack Chiefs Friday night at the Dog Pound.
You live and die with your special teams and they were huge in the outcome tonight with the Dogs scoring their first power play goal since three games ago, October 8th in a 5-5 tie in Duncan. Wouldn't you know, tonight it turned out to be the GWG, game winning goal.
The Dogs killed off 100% of the penalties they took, a feat they hadn't accomplished since the last time they won a game, October 1st in Duncan. And, wouldn't you know it, tonight they would be tested until the final buzzer with CHILLIWACK (that's another 2 bits in the jar) going to the man advantage with 1:50 left on the clock trailing by a goal.
You live and die by your goaltending too - Max Fenkell was great tonight. While not as busy as Mitch Gillam for the Chiefs, he came up with the big saves when needed. I felt for Gillam who had a great night turning away 50 of 53 shots, only to have two unlucky bounces from sharp angles beat him.
And you can't forget the oh so elusive "puck luck", the bounces, the breaks, etc - the Dogs scored those two goals, the Chiefs hit a post late in the game, the Dogs got a 5 on 3 power play, etc.
It was nice to get back into the "friendly confines" of the Dog Pound. It was nice to see the team play at home. They are a different club, energized by the crowd. They always push the pace and more often than not have the extra work ethic and determination that can decide the outcome. Home Ice doesn't win you games alone but it certainly helps, and certainly helps the Home side in the Dog Pound especially. Even Harvey Smyl said on the pregame show that this was one of the hardest rinks in the league to play in, no matter whether the Dogs are having a good season, a bad season, its early or late in the year, he says it's always tough. The same can be said about a Smyl coached team as they will always be a good team that will give you a tough game with a group of players that have bought into playing a good "team" game.
It is too bad that Chilliwack is in the Interior Conference this year, and that the schedule isn't a full interlock as these teams won't meet again unless its in the League Final. I always enjoy catching up with Harvey Smyl and having the chance to interview him.
A pretty funny behind the scenes story from today...I accidentally had my recording device set to the wrong settings when I interviewed Paul Esdale and Brandon Adams which resulted in my memory card getting maxed out two seconds into Harvey's first answer to my first question....which resulted in my having to stop and apologize to Harv before retreating to the Broadcast Booth on the other side of the rink to make room on the card. He just gave me the gears and laughed and said I was a rookie. And was still giving me the gears when I returned ten minutes later, haha
In the end it was my "vet" status that was my downfall, as I got up to $1.25 on the "swear jar" for saying Langley instead of Chilliwack. Old habits are hard to break. I think I only said "Chiefs" twice on Saturday night in Langley, I was pretty proud of that!
Don't forget the Guns N' Hoses "Battle of the Badges" Charity Classic tomorrow with the PA RCMP taking on the PAFD to support the Port Alberni Association for Community Living. Puck drop is 7:30, admission is by donation!
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