Hard to argue that it was the best start of the season for the Dogs, or at least the best start with some results to show for it as they scored first for just the second time this season, and they scored their earliest goal in any game this season. Justin Georgeson won a faceoff in the Grizzlies zone and went to the net and tipped home a Luca Doctor point shot that came off a nice pass from Hunter Stewart in the left corner. It was the first goal in a Dogs uniform for Georgeson, and the first point as a Bulldog for Doctor. The goal came 1:30 in. The Dogs would come up with a penalty kill to protect the lead shortly afterwards, and then went to the power play following that where they built the lead to 2-0 as Darian Henry ripped one top corner, far side on Nic Renyard from the right point with a lightning quick release wrister. Assists went to Tryg Strand and Harlan Orr - his first point as a Bulldog as well.
The Grizzlies would reply in short order, yet another odd and controversial goal against the Dogs. It's only 8 games in and the goals and calls that have gone against the Dogs sure have added up fast. What I saw - a quick chance out front from a sharp angle, and the puck back the other way lightning fast. It didn't look like a goal to me. To the Referee right at the side of the net, it didn't look like anything apparently, as there was no goal signal, and no wave-off/washout either. The horn in the building went off, and the goal light went off, and that appeared to be the only reason the play was stopped. The Grizzlies didn't celebrate either. It was an odd play, and I'm glad I wasn't the Official at the net that had to make a call. However, it gets interesting when NO call is made. The Referee at centre didn't have a look at it either apparently, nor did the Linesman. In the end, they went to the goal judge.
In the end the judge called it a goal, with the explanation that I was given indicating that none of the four Officials with the viewpoint that the puck went in the net. Credit for the marker went to Jay Mackie from Jake Sterling and Dante Hahn at 14:15 of the first with the Dogs leading 2-1 after 20 minutes.
The Grizzlies would carry more of the play of the second, and score another goal that was a controversial one as a shot that was clearly going wide of the net from the point hit a skate and went in. The Bulldogs stance was that the puck was kicked in and not directed. It didn't appear that the Officials even considered discussing the goal, but maybe it just looked that way. Again in the defence of the Officials, it happens fast out there and there are lots of bodies to look through. Bulldogs Coach Kevin Willison was as animated as I have ever seen him as he immediately had the bench door open to protest with the Referees. It would fall on deaf ears, as it was a 2-2 game with Mitch Meek getting credit for the goal with Jesse Schwartz and Brandon Egli at 7:08 of the second for a 2-2 tie after two periods. I am guessing that the goal will be changed as Meek took the shot from the point and it was redirected around the hash-marks, with no Bulldog touching it.
There would be no scoring in the third period, with the Dogs outshooting the Grizzlies 13-12. The Dogs had a power play chance that they failed to connect on with about six minutes to go in regulation, before they were sent to the penalty box with just over three minutes to play in the third, but they came up with a big kill to force overtime.
The Dogs out shot the Grizzlies 6-4 through overtime. The best chance for the Grizzlies came in the final minute when Myles Fitzgerald walked to the slot, but Tyger Howat came up with a great glove save on a short-side high attempt.
It looked to me that the Dogs won the game on the ensuing shift as Kurt Gosselin made several great moves on the rush to get to the net before dishing off to a driving Zak Bowles, who appeared to deflect the puck under the crossbar and in, around the middle post and out. The referee would wave off the goal. The Grizzlies might have dodged a bullet as Dante Hahn might put his hand on the puck in his crease to prevent it from crossing the line on a second attempt by Bowles.
UPDATE - After looking at the video on the bus on the way home it looks like my eyes weren't deceiving me, Zak Bowles DID in fact SCORE, unfortunately the Referee(s) didn't see it. They are human too, but holy smokes three goals in a game, three against one team. Ouch.
Final score 2-2.
A great effort by the new look Dogs. Two controversial goals against, the game winner not counted. Pretty hard to feel if you are the Dogs that you got a fair shake tonight, but you have to feel that the calls will eventually even out. They have a long way to go to tip the scales back to even with how they have gone against the Dogs so far. As much as it doesn't give them two points, or a "W" in the column, here's hoping knowing that they won it helps the Dogs mentally.
Next up for the Dogs, a trip back up Island tonight to host the Rivermen tomorrow at the Dog Pound..