Friday, December 09, 2011
Dogs top best in Coast Friday night, host BCHL best Vees tonight
The Bulldogs snapped a two game losing streak Friday night and made a winner of Kevin Willison in his debut behind the Dogs bench with a gritty total team effort, bringing as close to a full 60 minute effort as you can get. The Dogs remained unbeaten in three games against the Caps this season - all of them in Duncan - with now two wins and a tie so far in the head to head series.
It was just the second loss in regulation for the Capitals in their last SIXTEEN games. THAT ladies and gentlemen is how you get to be the top ranked team in the Conference.
The Dogs came out as one might expect after all the changes that went down this week as everyone top to bottom looked fired up and extra motivated with the hopes of showing their stuff to the new bench boss. Just over two minutes into the game, and about 30 seconds after failing to score on a 4 on 1 rush, the Dogs took a 1-0 lead on a bang-bang play when Ryan Lough converted a Tyler Berkholtz feed from behind the net with a quick release past the glove of Derek Dun. It was almost 2-0 shortly afterwards on the power play but an Arty Kalshnikov shot hit the post and then Derek Dun made the rebound stop from the seat of his pants. The Caps also hit the bar later in the period on a bad pass up the middle that Matt Brown intercepted walking right down main street. Max Fenkell (who was great all game) kept it 1-0 after one as he faced a first period penalty shot for the second straight game, again making the save on Travis Stephens as he did Sunday afternoon. I have to go back and check my records but Max might have stopped three straight penalty shots. It might be four as I also remember him stopping at the very least one more earlier in the season.
The score stayed that way until late in the second when the Caps tied the game at 1-1 with just over a minute to play in the period when they connected on the power play as Brayden Sherbinin fired one home from the top of the right circle off a good cross-ice set up as it was anyone's game heading into the third.
The Dogs got the eventual game winner six minutes into the third with another play that pushed the pace as Chase Van Allen fired a shot at the net from the left point that ended up deflecting off a stick and onto the tape of Josh Mitchell, who in turn one-touched it back to the slot for Brandon Adams who let a quick shot go that beat Dun low stick-side to make it 2-1. Through good mistake free hockey, good goaltending and solid penalty killing the Dogs would make the lead stand until they iced it in the dying seconds of regulation as Marlon Sabo cleared the puck out of the zone and to the Caps blue line where Adams out raced a Cap and chased it down before finding the open cage for the 3-1 final. Adams ended up figuring in on all the Dogs offense on the game earning 1st star honours.
Shots favoured the Dogs 30-28. The Dogs went 0 for 5 on the PP while the Caps went 1 for 5. The Capitals have now gone two games without scoring a goal at even strength.
3rd) Max Fenkell
2nd) Matt Brown
1st) Brandon Adams
Here's hoping the Dogs bring the same level of EVERYTHING tonight to their game that they brought in Duncan - fire, passion, work ethic, sacrifice - all those buzz words - as they can see what they are capable of when they do. More importantly I hope they really do believe in what they are capable of, as confidence makes all the difference. It was nice to see some of the guys play with an increased level of swagger tonight. And not swagger as in cockiness either but just playing well. Crazy stuff that confidence business, it can come and go in the blink of an eye and the difference it can make in a player is everything. You can go from a game breaker to a bench warmer pretty quick. All you have to do to gain some is just have your head in the right place and make some plays and next thing you know it's a downhill slope but in a good way.
The Dogs will certainly need to make some plays if they have designs on beating the best in the league tonight in the Penticton Vees, winners of lucky 13 in a row after they opened their Island swing with a 5-4 win over the Grizzlies in Victoria.
Catch the pregame show at 6:45 on Boston Pizza Bulldogs Hockey on 93.3 The Peak FM with Ace and myself, with the play-by-play to follow at 7:00pm. Langley Rivermen play-by-play voice Brandon Astle is my 2nd Intermission guest.
Fans are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to the game as the Dogs are attempting to stock the shelves for the less fortunate with the holiday season coming up fast. Anyone that brings something to donate gets an entry for the Airplane toss to try and win a nice holiday bird!