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Friday, December 20, 2013

Dogs top Clippers 2-0 with solid road effort

A great start to the game for the Bulldogs, as an early shift by the Strand-Georgeson-Clark line set the tone with a long containment shift in the Clippers end. The Dogs would carry the bulk of the play for the first half of the period, building up a 9-1 advantage in shots with Tanner Kovacs standing tall in the Clipper net. The Clippers would win the second half of the period, winning a series of draws in the Dogs zone and generating shots on net from the point and generating scrambles in the Dogs crease that LaCouvee kept out as it was a 0-0 game after one with the Dogs leading the shots 9-7.

The second period saw the Bulldogs again come out and assert themselves early and have an edge in the play. The Clippers would be awarded two straight penalties - one in incredible fashion after the whistle- but the Dogs did a great job to kill them off to keep it 0-0. The Dogs would have a 2 on 1 taken away when Craig Martin chipped the puck past Colton Dahlen, only to have Dahlen jump him, obviously in retribution for the hit he put on him earlier in the season. There would be no extra two to Dahlen, but the Dogs no doubt gained momentum with the one-sided scrap going in my opinion to Martin. One would have thought that Martin answered the call when he was also called on to fight the last game in Nanaimo, but Dahlen I guess didn't think that was the case. I wondered at the time if it was the best of decisions with his past concussion history - a bad one last year, and one on the hit from Martin this year. Dahlen wouldn't play another shift to the best of my knowledge. The Dogs continued to push and finally broke the scoreless tie on a great shift in the offensive zone as Kurt Gosselin pinched in to keep the puck behind the net for Zach Funk. He would find Josh Adkins at the top of the crease with a quick pass that he one-timed through the legs of Kovacs to make it 1-0 Dogs 12:12 into the second. The Dogs had several solid chances to build the lead, but Kovacs held the fort. In the late stages of the period tempers flared when Zak Bowles threw a huge hit on Sheldon Rempal. Bowles would be jumped by two Clippers simultaneously, with Quintin Wunder also dropping the mitts with Austin Dick. The Clippers would get the extra two minutes as the Dogs finally got their first power play of the game with 2:30 to go in the period, but they were unable to connect on it as they lead 1-0 after 40 minutes while holding a 19-13 edge in shots.

The Bulldogs came out flying to start the third period, drawing an early power play chance. While they couldn't find the net, they generated several good chances. When it was back to five on five, the Bulldogs continued to carry the bulk of the play, winning the races and the battles both in the offensive and defensive zones. They would get some much needed insurance with 4:10 left in the game when Nanaimo native Zach Funk found his own faceoff win in the Nanaimo end and walked un touched into the right circle where he snapped one home short-side on Kovacs. Assists on the play went to Ryan Buse and Dylan Haugen at 15:50 of the third period. The Dogs would play a solid final four minutes to seal the deal for the 2-0 Final.

Connor LaCouvee picked up 3rd star honours with the win while Tanner Kovacs took 2nd star honours with the loss. The Dogs went 0 for 3 on the power play while the Clippers went 0 for 2. The Dogs outshot the Clippers 30-16, including 11-3 in the third period.

Quite possibly the most solid, 60 minute effort this season for the Bulldogs, and they couldn't have made better use of one of their two games in hand on Cowichan. One more to go before the Christmas break tomorrow night in Victoria.

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