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Sunday, October 06, 2013

Dogs fall 3-2 in overtime to the Rivermen

The Bulldogs got off to a good start in the opening minutes, getting the first couple of shots on goal and the first power play, but after that the Rivermen carried the bulk of the play through the first frame, outshooting the Dogs 12-5. The shots on goal total wasn't pretty, but what the box score doesn't show is that the Dogs for the most part limited the good scoring chances against and kept the bulk of the opportunities to the outside.

The Dogs came out guns a'blazing in the second period, taking a 1-0 lead just 1:38 in as Justin Georgeson battled the puck ahead for Craig Martin. He would fight through the Langley defenders to skate in on a partial breakaway where he went top corner, short-side on Crossthwaite for a 1-0 Bulldog lead and his third goal in as many games since joining the team. Luca Doctor picked up the only assist on the play at 1:38 of the second. Less than a minute later it was 2-0 as Kurt Gosselin found a loose puck at the line and walked into the high slot where he again went top corner, short-side on Crossthwaite. Assists on the play went to Josh Adkins and Mak Barden at 2:25 as the Rivermen called time out to try and stem the tide. The Dogs would have a great chance to put the game further out of reach shortly afterwards when they went to a 5 on 3 power play, but they were unable to connect. Although they moved the puck around well and created several good opportunities, they missed the net on about 4 of 5 good looks. They wouldn't get a power play chance for the rest of the game. The Dogs would keep up the pace throughout the period to outshoot the Rivermen 12-10 and lead 2-0 after 40 minutes.

The Rivermen would get on the board in short order to start the third period shortly after the Dogs killed off a penalty as Tanner Johnson put a one-timer through the legs of Howat from the top of the point. The shot appeared to be deflected. Assists on the play went to Nathan Craft and Kevan Killistoff at 2:17 of the second. Just seconds later, the Bulldogs went to the penalty kill to protect the lead. While they killed the penalty off, they couldn't clear the zone and the Rivermen made them pay as Matt Ustaski took a pass from behind the net and went top corner, far side past the blocker of Howat to make it 2-2. Assists went to Mitch McLain and Tanner Johnson at 5:10 of the third as the game went to overtime.

The Dogs would have the better of the chances early in the OT, most notably Tryg Strand who had a partial breakaway that Brock Crossthwaite just got a piece of with his blocker to keep it out. The Rivermen would score the winner with just over half a minute to play in the first overtime period as Austin Azurdia eluded Justin Georgeson out of the corner in the Dogs zone and drove the net where he just tucked it through the legs of Howat. The puck didn't hit the back of the net, and I didn't see it over the line from my angle but the Referee was in good position to call it a goal. James Robinson picked up the only assist on the play at 4:22 of overtime for the 3-2 Final.

Shots favoured the Rivermen 40-23 with Tyger Howat taking the loss but playing fantastic and giving his team every chance to win. The Dogs went 0 for 3 on the power play while the Rivermen went 0 for 5.

It's a loss that stings considering the Dogs had a 2-0 lead after two periods, but at the same time it's a positive that the Dogs found a way to get a point against the Mainland leaders playing their third game in as many days at the end of a long road trip. While the Dogs are now winless in three, they have taken points in four out of their last five games, with two ties and a win combined with a loss and an overtime loss. Compare that to a 0 and 7 start to the season and zero points gained, and it certainly has been an improvement. The job now is to continue the upwards trend, and find a way to win more of the close ones.

The Dogs return home on the Ferry tonight and next see action Friday in Duncan against the Capitals before returning home Saturday night to host the Rivermen.



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