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Friday, September 13, 2013

Clippers top Dogs 4-2

The Bulldogs finally got back on Home Ice Friday night as they hosted the Clippers for their 2013-2014 Home Opener. After the introduction and the dimming of the lights the Dogs looked somewhat tight, with the Clippers coming out strong and carrying the better part of the play while running up a large advantage in shots and chances. Brad Rebagliati was rock solid to keep the Clippers off the board and the Dogs in it.

The Dogs got their feet under them and had several good chances, before going to the power play when Justin Georgeson drew a penalty by slipping a check in the Bulldogs zone. While on the power play the Clippers would pick up another penalty, setting up a 5 on 3 power play for just over :50 seconds in duration. The Dogs would connect at the end of the two-man advantage with good puck movement and pace as Jared Wilson put a quick shot on net that beat Liam McLeod top corner, short-side from the right circle. Assists on the play went to Kurt Gosselin and Tryg Strand at 17:47 of the first for a 1-0 Dogs lead after 20 minutes.

The Dogs would draw first blood early in the second to build their lead to 2-0 as Justin Georgeson blocked a shot and fought the puck into the zone where it was found by Mak Barden, who went to the net and poked his own rebound home just :55 into the period, with Wilson also drawing an assist on the play. The Dogs wouldn't have very long to enjoy the lead as the Clippers fought right back to get on the board as Devin Brosseau had his first shot blocked but stuck with it to find it again and fire it past the blocker of Rebagliati from the slot just 40 seconds later to make it 2-1, with Brendan Taylor picking up the only assist on the play. The score would stay that way until the late stages of the period when the Clippers scored a greasy one - hey, they all count - as a faceoff was thrown at the net where it bounced off several bodies before ending up in the crase where it was chopped home by Brendan Taylor. Assists on the play went to Devin Brosseau and Sheldon Rempal at 18:54 of the second for a 2-2 tie after two periods.

The Clippers would take their first lead of the game on one that made the previous marker look pretty as they picked up the eventual game winner in controversial fashion on the power play when Brad Rebagliati was taken out of the play and didn't even get an opportunity to attempt to make a save.

How it looked to me - a Clipper player was tied up and pushed towards the net where he took a path straight towards the goal, knocking Brad Rebagliati down and not allowing him to even make an attempt to make a save. That's just how it looked to me - the player wasn't ran or hit hard into the goalie, but instead bumped a couple of times. A battle for position if you will, a play where 30 times a game or more a player who wanted to end up on the goalie, could if he went in. You have to almost it's simplicity - go hard to the net and establish that presence to battle hard, and then go soft when the defence tries to protect their net. Call it incidental contact, call it goalie interference, call it something- in the end it was nothing, and a 3-2 Clippers lead with Korey Morgan scoring from Dylan Denomme and Devin Brosseau at 4:37 of the third. It's certainly hard to make a judgement call like in the heat of the moment. That's just how it all looked to me.   

Shortly afterwards the Clippers would ice it while shorthanded as the Dogs went to the power play following a nastly skirmish and fight after a huge open ice hit by Garrett Halls. Kurt Gosselin would tumble while attempting to hold the puck in at the line resulting in a 2 on 1 shorthanded where Ryan Forbes kept the puck and scored with a perfect wrist shot, far side just past the glove of Rebagliati to make it 4-2 with 8:11 gone in the third. The Dogs wouldn't be able to chip into the deficit as the Clippers made the lead stand.

Final shots 41-34 Bulldogs. I had the Dogs at 1 for 6 on the power play while the Clippers went 1 for 4, while also scoring once shorthanded.

Next up for the Dogs, a trip down Island tomorrow night as they visit the Cowichan Valley Capitals for their Home Opener at the Big Stick. The Dogs certainly don't have any time to waste any energy hanging their heads about this one, or hitting the panic button. They played their best game of the season by far, and generated enough offensive chances around the net to win any game. Having said that - they need to raise their battle level and understand how hard you have to play, and how good you have to play as a team in this league to win. At times the needed push and urgency wasn't there in this game. Quite simply, and if your opponent brings it harder and for more of the game, you more often than not are now going to win!


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