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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dogs top Kings 6-4, tie Cowichan

The game started with a bang, with the Bulldogs scoring just 25 seconds into the game to snap the 180 minute head to head shutout streak of Kings netminder Jeff Smith as Tryg Strand drove the net and one-timed home a centering pass from the top of the crease. Assists on the play went to Justin Georgeson and Hunter Stewart. The Bulldogs continued to push the pace, and quickly made it a 2-0 lead inside the first three minutes of the game as Justin Georgeson found a loose puck at centre and blew past a Kings defender before walking into the high slot and beating Smith with a wrist shot from the high slot blocker side. Hunter Stewart and Tryg Strand picked up the assists at 2:45 of the first. Momentum would shift 30 seconds later when the Kings went to the power play. A strong net drive Kurt Keats just seconds later would draw another penalty as LaCouvee made a great save on a partial break before being taken out by two defenceman who were taken out by Lucas Grayson. The only penalty went to the Dogs, as the Kings went to work on a 5 on 3 for over a minute and a half. They would connect on it to make it a 2-1 game when Jarid Lukosevicius took a cross-ice pass from Jarryd Leung in the left circle that he fired short-side past a screened LaCouvee at 4:40 of the first. The Dogs would kill off the second penalty, but the momentum had swung in the Kings favour as they controlled the next 10 minutes as Connor LaCouvee came up with a handful of saves to protect the lead. The most notable stop was on a one-timer from the slot by former Bulldog AP Brendyn Smith where LaCouvee made a great glove save. The Bulldogs would draw a power play late in the first and had several good chances but they couldn't find the net to build the lead. Shots favoured the Kings 20-14 after the first.  

The Dogs build their lead on a pretty power play set up in the front half of the second as Justin Georgeson took a cross-ice pass from Garrett Halls at the left point before throwing a pass cross-ice to the back door where Hunter Stewart deflected it home to make it 3-1 at 6:40 of the second. The game would turn nasty shortly afterwards when Lucas Grayson came off the Kings bench on a change and blindsided Hunter Stewart on a high hit in neutral ice. There was no penalty on the play, but Bulldog Captain Tryg Strand took exception to the hit and challenged Grayson to a fight. The Dogs would kill off a penalty to protect their lead, before being sent to the box again shortly afterwards. As they were in the process of killing that one off Rob Click and Lucas Grayson would engage in a stick swinging battle at the front of the net that resulted in a delayed penalty to the Bulldogs, and a fight between Click and Grayson that saw Grayson pick up an additional two minutes for roughing along with a Gross Misconduct for removing his helmet and a Game Ejection for a second fight. The Dogs would end up killing off the penalty, before drawing one themselves with two seconds left in the period. Shots favoured the Dogs 11-9 in the period with the Kings holding a 29-25 advantage after 40 minutes.

The Bulldogs couldn't connect on the power play to start the period, but they kept pushing and ended up building the lead seconds later as Zach Funk took an in-alone pass from Josh Adkins to skate in on a partial breakaway. He would be unable to get a shot away, but stuck with it and found the puck below the goal line where he threw one out front that went off a King and in to make it 4-1 game 2:34 into the third as Jeff Smith was relieved by Jonah Imoo. The Bulldogs would build their lead to 5-1 six minutes later as Mitch Owsley did a good job to battle the puck past a Kings defender to race away on a 2 on 1 rush where he put a perfect cross-ice pass onto the tape of Craig Martin who one-timed it home top corner, far side over the glove of Imoo at 8:12. The Kings would answer back just 15 seconds later when they won a draw in the Dogs end back to the line where Cole Arcuri scored his first career goal with a quick release that beat LaCouvee low, glove side from Jarryd Leung at 8:27. The score stayed that way until the late stages of the game when the Kings scored two quick ones to all of a sudden make a game of it. The first came on a Kurt Keats rebound at the side of the net after Connor LaCouvee made the first save off a deflected point shot. Assists on the play went to Jarid Lukosevicius and Kyle Chatham at 17:12 of the third. The Kings continued to press and drew within one on the next shift as they won several battles in the Dogs end before JJ Coleshaw drove hard to the net and made a quick move before throwing it through the legs of LaCouvee. Assists went to Luke Nogard and Drew Dorantes at 17:46 to make it 5-4. The Bulldogs would call Time Out to slow things down and regain their composure to protect their lead. Instead, they built on it as it took just 10 seconds with Mitch Makin dumping the puck in, chasing it down and throwing it on net from he left wing. Imoo would make the first save but he couldn't control the rebound as Mitch Owsley hammered it from the lip of the crease to make it 6-4 at 17:56. The Kings would again push to try and get back into it but the Dogs made the two-goal lead stand as time expired.

Shots favoured the Kings 46-39 with Connor LaCouvee picking up 3rd star honours with the win while Jeff Smith took the loss giving up four goals on 29 shots before being replaced by Jonah Imoo. The Dogs went 1 for 4 on the power play while the Kings went 1 for 5.

With the win the Dogs are now tied with the Cowichan Valley Capitals for the final Playoff spot in the Island Division, the first time the Dogs have drawn even since the opening day of the season. They get some much deserved time off until Saturday night when they host the Victoria Grizzlies, their only game over the coming week.


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