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Saturday, September 07, 2013

Dogs fall 3-2 to Vees in season opener at Showcase

A close finish, but a finish on the wrong end of the scoreboard for the Bulldogs in their Season Opener to the Vees at the Showcase.

The Dogs had good energy off the opening shift of the game, but the Vees pushed back and drew a power play chance almost immediately. The Dogs would get a short power play after the Vees took a too-many-men penalty, but they were unable to connect. The best chance early in the game was certainly the wide-open look that Shane O'Brien had at the side of the net...Hunter Miska would make a highlight reel save however, throwing his arm out to somehow keep it out and keep it scoreless.

The Vees would find the net shortly afterwards when Ryan Gropp pounced on a rebound at the side of the net created by a faceoff win and a point shot. Assists on the play went to Ben Dalpe and Brad McClure at 8:41 of the first.

The Vees had a great chance to take a 2-0 lead on a 2 on 0 rush early in the second, but Rebagliati would come up with a huge glove save off of Travis Blanleil. After a further handful of solid saves to keep his team in it by Rebagliati, they would respond as Jared Wilson sent Justin Georgeson out of his own end where he carried the puck into the Vees zone and made several nice moves to drive wide and throw the puck out front to Mak Barden who roofed it at 8:04 of the second to tie it at 1-1. The tie was short-lived as the Vees connected on a scramble on the power play with Garrett Halls off for a high hit. Travis Blanleil got the goal, from Ryan Gropp and Ben Dalpe at 10:52 of the second.

Shortly afterwards, a somewhat looking high-hit would knock Shane O'Brien from the game. He would not return. There was no penalty on the play. I certainly don't want hitting taken out of the game, but I also don't want players being taken out of the game either. It's a very fine line. O'Brien tried to make a move at the blue line, and didn't see the D-man stepping up.

The Vees would build on their lead inside of four minutes into the third when Max Coatta was sent in alone on the breakaway where he scored with a low, blocker-side snapper at the 3:40 mark with assists to Josh Blanchard and Anthony Conti.

Just like what saw the Dogs push through to the Coastal Finals last year, they showed no quit. They hung around until the late stages of the game when they were awarded a power play on an after-the-whistle penalty created by the Vees crashing the crease - something they did all game, and something the Dogs need to do more of for sure. Just half a minute later, the Dogs went to a 5 on 3 when Chris Rygus was sent off for high-sticking. Two fantastic efforts by Jared Wilson and Tryg Strand would keep the puck in the zone off the ensuing draw, and just seconds later it was a one-goal game as Hunter Stewart and Tryg Strand found Jared Wilson in the right side of the slot where he one-time snapped one top corner, short-side on Miska to make it 3-2 with 3:48 to play. The Dogs weren't able to connect on the remaining power play, or the rest of the way, but they were certainly close, with the best chance probably being when Josh Adkins found a loose puck at the side of the net and just couldn't get it to go.

Final shots favoured the Vees 42-18, with Brad Rebagliati taking the loss while earning 2nd star honours - he was the star of the game in my humble opinion, while Hunter Miska picked up the win. The Dogs went 1 for 4 on the power play while the Vees went 1 for 5.

Next up - the Coquitlam Express tomorrow morning.



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