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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Late rally falls short as Dogs fall 5-3 to Warriors

A very tough start to the game for the Bulldogs, as they arrived late after having their bus struck by a SUV outside of Kelowna. Just like in Vernon the night before, the Bulldogs were awarded a four minute power play early in the game on a high stick that drew blood on Tryg Strand. Unfortunately also much like the night before, the power play was very flat for the most of the four minutes, with the Warriors having the best chance as Connor LaCouvee was called on to make a huge save on a Matt Anholt shorthanded breakaway. The Warriors would jump out to a 1-0 lead as the Dogs failed to get the puck out of their zone. LaCouvee would make several initial saves on the play but a third chance was deflected off traffic at the front of the net and onto the tape of Jason Cotton at the side of the goal where he made no mistake roofing it past the blocker arm of LaCouvee. Assists on the play went to Jordan Masters and Seb Lloyd at 7:57 of the first. On the next shift it was 2-0, on a goal similar to the first one as Ben Tegtmeyer put a shot on net from the top of the left circle that was deflected by Liam Blackburn. LaCouvee would make the first save on the deflection, but the rebound ended up at the side of the net on the tape of Carl Hesler who roofed it before LaCouvee could recover to make it 2-0 at 8:24. The Warriors would push hard to put the game away, but the Dogs held on with LaCouvee standing tall making countless saves, including a barrage on two Warrior power play chances late in the frame. The Warriors out-shot the Dogs 23-5 over the first.

The Bulldogs came out with much better period in the second, however they were unable to carry enough of the play to generate a sustained attack and get many good scoring chances. The score stayed 2-0 Warriors all the way until the back half of the period when they built their lead on the power play. Just prior to the goal the Bulldogs raced in on a shorthanded 2 on 1 but Cody Porter came up with a big save on Mitch Makin to keep it 2-0. That would loom large as the Warriors went up ice and went up 3-0 when Matt Anholt threw a puck on goal from the top of the left circle that was deflected home out front by Tyson Dallman up and over LaCouvee. Adam Plant also picked up a helper on it at 12:06 of the second. The Bulldogs would continue to chase the puck, ending up in penalty trouble late in the period as they ended up down two men and the Warriors made them pay on the 5 on 3 with a pretty high-low give-and-go set up as Ben Tegtmeyer took a quick return pass at the top of the right circle from Matt Anholt that he fired past a screened and impeded Connor LaCouvee. Reid Simmonds also picked up an assist on the play at 17:31 of the period as the Warriors led 4-0 after 40 minutes, while holding a 34-12 advantage in shots on goal.

The Dogs were unable to get going to start the third period despite a shuffling of the lines, as the Warriors found the net with a pretty set up on the power play five minutes into the period to take a 5-0 lead as Jason Cotton ripped a one-timer top corner, far-side over the glove of LaCouvee from Ben Tegtmeyer. The score stayed that way until the back half of the period with the Bulldogs showing no quit and getting into the game on a Craig Martin goal just past the midway point of the third period with a wrist shot that beat Cody Porter through traffic to make it 5-1 with 10:37 gone in the period with Kurt Gosselin picking up the only assist. The Dogs would find the net less than a minute later to get back within three when Mitch Owsley threw the puck back to the top of the left circle where Kurt Gosselin one-timed it home top corner, far-side over the glove of Porter at 11:35 to make it 5-2 with Owsley and Hunter Stewart assisting. The Dogs would continue to push, eventually making it 5-3 with less than a minute to play when Garrett Halls kept the puck in at the line and got it down to the right corner for Harlan Orr who drove the net and threw a puck cross-ice where it appeared to hit a defender and go in through Porter at 19:12 to make it a 5-3 game. That's as close as the Dogs would get though, as the Warriors salted the rest of the time away.

Shots favoured the Warriors 51-21 with Connor LaCouvee taking the loss in net, despite a heroic effort stopping 46 shots while Cody Porter picked up the win. Special teams were again a big difference for the second night in a row as the Dogs went 0 for 3 on the power play while the Warriors went 3 for 7.

The loss coupled with a Capitals win over Powell River has the Dogs again three points back for the final Playoff spot in the Island Division, with the Dogs still holding a game in hand. Their busy schedule continues next week as they host Nanaimo on Wednesday, visit the Clippers on Friday, and host West Kelowna and Powell River Saturday and Sunday respectively.


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