An ominous beginning to the game saw the Dogs in the penalty box and then down 1-0 before the game was barely a minute old on a Brady Shaw deflection before Malcolm McKinney made it 2-0 on a 2 on 1 rush later in the frame. Just 30 seconds later Matt Larose stopped Brady Shaw on a breakaway, and then Shaw again as he was awarded a penalty shot on the play, to keep it 2-0 after one.
Larose made two more breakaway stops early in the second, before being beaten on at least the third one he faced in the early moments of the second, this one coming with the Express shorthanded as McKinney scored his second of the game to make it 3-0. The Dogs then ended up in the box repeatedly, resulting in back-to-back 5 on 3 powerplay goals for the Express from Shaw and then McKinney as he completed the hat trick for a 5-0 score. One more powerplay goal from Dante Godinho made it 6-0 before the Dogs were rewarded with a powerplay chance that they connected on as Dylan Nowakowski set up Walker Hyland at the top of the crease to make it 6-1. Jon Siemer replied for the Express when he banked one in from behind the line to make it 7-1, before Walker Hyland's second of the game, again off a Dylan Nowakowski set up with 10 seconds left in the second for a 7-2 score.
The only goal the rest of the way was another powerplay goal from the Express, a gorgeous tic-tac-toe set up as Brady Shaw completed the hat trick on a backdoor one-timer six minutes into the third.
The Express added one more for good measure on the powerplay in the third for the 8-2 final on a highlight reel set up as Shaw added his 3rd goal of the game,
Final shots favoured the Dogs 43-38. The Dogs went 1 for 6 on the powerplay while the Express went 5 for 9 including two 5 on 3 goals and one while shorthanded.
The Dogs are short bodies at the moment and no doubt dearly miss their leading scorer in Justin Morello, and one of the guys playing great hockey lately in Brandon Adams who was head-shotted Sunday afternoon. Throw in Tyler Berkholtz - hurt in practice Thursday, and Brandon Halls and Yan Kalashnikov and you are in tough. By no means an excuse, but a factor for sure.
Here's hoping the Dogs can bring a better effort tomorrow in all facets of the game to head on the break on a winning note.
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Alberni Valley Bulldogs
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