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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dogs drop 4-1 decision to Vipers

The first minute of the game saw three or four big hits as both teams appeared ready to play a physical game early. The Vipers had the early edge in the play and took a 1-0 lead on an odd-man rush where Logan Mick drove the net un-checked and deflected a cross-ice pass before Nathan Warren could get over. Assists on the play went to TJ Dumonceaux and Ryan Renz at 4:14 of the first. The Vipers would have a handful off odd-man rushes and good chances to build the lead over the next couple of minutes but they were unable to find the net. Nathan Warren would make a great desperation save on TJ Dumonceaux where he appeared down and out but somehow managed to get his pad on it to keep it out. The Bulldogs would go to a four-minute power play just short of the midway mark of the period when Harlan Orr was cut by a High stick, but for the most part they failed to generate much of anything with the Vipers making the kill look easy until the Bulldogs generated several good chances around the net in the final 30 seconds of the man advantage. The Dogs would have a glorious chance to tie the game later in the period when Mitch Owsley walked into the slot all alone, but it either just missed or hit the shoulder of Austin Smith and stayed out. At the other end, the Bulldogs would get within a foot of their blue line and fail to get the puck out and it ended up in the back of their net on a nice give-and-go as Liam Coughlin gave the puck back to Michael McNicholas who out-waited Nathan Warren and went top corner, short-side from a sharp angle to make it 2-0 at 17:09 of the first with Dexter Dancs also drawing an assist on the play. The Dogs would push to get on the board late in the period but they couldn't beat Smith as the Vipers took the lead to the room, holding a 9-7 advantage in shots.  

The second period saw the Vipers come out flying and the Bulldogs being a step behind as Nathan Warren was called on to make a series of highlight reel saves - first on a one-timer from the top of the crease by Colton Sparrow, then on subequent breakaways by Brendan Persley and TJ Dumonceaux all within the first five minutes of the period to keep his team in the game. The Bulldogs would fight hard to get back in it, coming close a late period power play when Tryg Strand hit the cross-bar from the hashmarks only to have the puck stay out. Shortly afterwards they would get a good bounce as Austin Smith misplayed the puck onto the tape of Mitch Owsley. He would get back into his net to make the save on Owsley, but the puck bounced off of Smith and a Viper defender and into the net to make it 2-1, un-assisted at 17:08 of the second. After battling back so hard to make it a one-goal game, the Dogs would give it right back less than a minute later when they got caught puck watching in their own end and the Vipers scored on a pretty three-way passing play as Michael McNicholas and Liam Coughlin set up Dexter Dancs for a tap in at the side of the net to make it 3-1 at 17:45. The Vipers would take the 3-1 lead to the room after 40 minutes, with the Dogs out-shooting them over the period 12-6 for a 19-16 advantage after two periods.

The Bulldogs would come out and try to dig out of the hole in the third period and had several chances around the net, but again couldn't beat Smith. The Vipers would get their first power play of the game just over six minutes into the period, and while they couldn't score on it, they did find the net just seconds after the penalty elapsed when Brendan Persley found a loose puck in the slot that he ripped top corner, over the glove of Warren to make it 4-1. TJ Dumonceaux picked up the only assist on the play at 8:28 for the third period and the eventual 4-1 Final score.

Nathan Warren took the loss but looked great in his BCHL debut in net while Austin Smith picked up the win. The Dogs went 0 for 6 on the power play - a big difference in the game, while the Vipers went 0 for 1.

The Dogs finish the trip tomorrow afternoon in West Kelowna, a 2:30pm start. 

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