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Friday, December 13, 2013

Caps top Dogs 2-1

The game started well for the Dogs as they found the scoreboard just under three minutes into the game when Zach Funk won a draw in the Caps zone onto the tape of Dylan Haugen, who quickly fired one on net off his back foot that beat a stunned Robin Gusse low, short-side at 2:41 of the first. The only assist given on the play went to Josh Adkins, who did not take the face off. The second straight penalty to open the game went to the Bulldogs - a questionable call as two players went into the corner hugging each other, and Rob Click was given the only penalty. It would end up in the back of the Dogs net on a pretty give-and-go between Mason Malkowich and Jesse Neher as Neher walked into the left circle and went top corner far side, high glove on LaCouvee. Matt Berry also drew an assist on the play at 10:33 of the first. The Capitals would carry the bulk of the play after that, drawing another penalty. The Dogs would have it almost killed off before the Capitals took a penalty when Justin Georgeson was hit in the numbers, head-first into the boards. The Referee would call a check to the head penalty. The second such call the Dogs have seen this season where a hit from behind with the only contact to the head coming from it being driven the boards has been called in such a fashion. The Dogs were unable to connect on the man advantage, not generating much in the way of chances. The Dogs drew a penalty with just 2.4 seconds left in the period, but would have the pending power play taken away with another questionable call as with 10 players standing around jawing, Kurt Gosselin was somehow picked out of the pile for an Unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The period would end in a 1-1 tie with the Caps out-shooting the Dogs "officially" 15-3, however it was noticeable that several Dogs shots didn't go up on the board. Dan "the stats man" Tisserand had the Dogs actually putting 7 shots on net.

The Dogs would play a much better period in the second, drawing three penalties, and generating plenty of scoring chances. They weren't able to beat Robin Gusse though, as he stood tall and make a handful of great saves, most notably on Darian Henry with a couple of glove saves, and on Scott Clark and Hunter Stewart in tight. The Caps would take a major penalty in the late stages of the second when Sam Curleigh hit Mitch Makin from behind on a nasty hit that saw Makin fly from the goal line head first into the end boards. Makin's helmet would fly off on the impact, as the teams came very close to a line brawl with everyone grabbing a partner. Makin would jump up off the ice, and join the pile, and somehow got a 2 minute minor and a 10 minute misconduct. After two minutes of four-aside hockey, the Dogs were unable to connect on the three minutes of power play time to end the period with the game tied at 1-1 after 40, with the Dogs out-shooting the Caps16-7 over the period.

The third period was entertaining to watch, with each team having their fair share of chances but both Robin Gusse and Connor LaCouvee coming up with big saves at both ends to keep it tied up. The Capitals would go to the power play just short of the midway mark, on yet another soft after the whistle call against the Bulldogs - they all went the other way tonight - while the Bulldogs would kill it off, the Capitals scored the game winner just 20 seconds later when Colton Kehler stole the puck from a Bulldogs defenceman behind the net and managed to score on mutliple rebound attempts with the puck tied up in LaCouvee. Assists on the play went to Dane Gibson and Myles Powell at 12:11 of the third to make it 2-1. The Caps had a chance to put the game away with just under five minutes to go on a partial breakaway for Jordan Topping but LaCouvee came up with a glove save to keep the Dogs in it. The Dogs had a handful of outstanding chances in the final minutes to tie it up but Robin Gusse came up with point blank saves on Mitch Makin with just under four minutes to play, and Scott Clark from the slot just a minute later. With two minutes to play Kurt Gosselin made a nifty move at centre ice to make Kyle Horsman miss, only to have his feet taken out by the stick of Horsman. The Dogs couldn't buy a call from the Official as there would be no penalty on the play, with the Caps racing in and almost sealing the deal.

The Dogs had one final scramble as the buzzer sounded, with the puck somehow staying out as the Caps held on.

Final shots favoured the Capitals 33-29, although Dan had the Dogs putting 40 shots on net. Robin Gusse picked up the win while Connor LaCouvee took the loss, with the Dogs going 0 for 4 on the power play with the Capitals going 1 for 4.

A tough loss for the Dogs, who fall again to four points back of the Capitals. If their effort in the first half of the game was anywhere near how they played in the second half it might have been a different story.

A big tilt at Home for the Dogs tomorrow, when they host the Grizzlies in their final Home game before Christmas.

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