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Friday, October 04, 2013

Dogs stretch unbeaten streak to three with 3-3 tie in Trail

The Dogs jumped out to a great start, getting the early edge in scoring chances and offensive zone time. The best early chance went to Mitch Makin, who walked into the left circle and ripped a shot off the cross bar. The Dogs kept at it and did a great job of pushing the pace and taking the play to the Smoke Eaters. They would be rewarded for it in the late stages of the period when Dean Allison chased down a loose puck in the left corner of the Smokies zone and threw it behind the net to Mak Barden. He would find Zac Bowles in front who one-timed the feed home past the glove of Dustin Nikkel for his first career goal at 13:03 of the first. Just over a minute later the Dogs would strike again when Justin Georgeson won an offensive zone faceoff back to Luca Doctor, who threw a shot on net that was deflected and stopped by Nikkel, but he couldn't find the rebound before Craig Martin pounced on it at the top of the crease and slid it home for his first as a Bulldog. Luca Doctor and Hunter Stewart picked up the assists at 14:17 of the first. The Dogs would continue to push and had several good chances over the ensuing minutes, but they couldn't build the lead. The Smoke Eaters would push back against the flow of play and answer back before the period was out as Tyson Witala potted a loose puck at the side of the net off a Travis Stephens shot that appeared to hit the post. Bryan Basilico also drew an assist at 18:46 of the first to trim the Dogs lead to 2-1 after one.

The second period was a polar opposite of the first, as the Smoke Eaters came out with the jump in their step to atone for the first period, while the Bulldogs appeared to be a step behind. The Smoke Eaters threw six shots on net in the first minute and change of the second, and Tyger Howat had to be very good to keep it 2-1. The Smoke Eaters would tie it up on a faceoff win in the Dogs zone and a shot from the left point by Braeden Jones that deflected in past Howat off a Bulldog defender. Tyson Witala picked up the only assist on the play at 6:33 of the second to make it 2-2. The Smoke Eaters would take the lead six minutes later on the power play on another deflection as Jesse Knowler tipped home a Braden Pears point shot. Travis Stephens also picked up an assist at 13:01 of the second. The Dogs would answer back on a power play of their own late in the period when Kurt Gosselin hustled down the boards to keep the puck in, and then hustled back to the point to take a pass from Mitch Makin before going D-to-D to Darian Henry at the left point where he absolutely ripped a one-timer  through the legs of Nikkel. Assists went to Gosselin and Strand at 18:02 of the second for a 3-3 tie after 40 minutes.

There would be no scoring over the final 30 minutes of hockey, the 20 minutes of the third period and both 5 minute overtime periods, but that's not due to a lack of chances, but instead great goaltending as the teams combined for 34 shots but none of them found the back of the net. The Bulldogs spent the last 60 seconds of regulation but couldn't get any of them to go, most notably Mak Barden being robbed on the door step by Dustin Nikkel. The Smokies would have a great chance to win it early in OT, but Tyger Howat came up with a big save on an in-alone chance for Curtis Toneff.

Fantastic entertainment, both teams deserved to win, funny that neither team does. I had the Dogs at 1 for 4 on the power play while the Smoke Eaters went 1 for 2.

Next up for the Dogs, an overnight trip to the Okanagan to face the Vees in Penticton tomorrow night.


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