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Friday, January 03, 2014

Poor start kills Dogs chances, 4-1 Grizzlies win

The Bulldogs appeared a step behind from the outset, with the Grizzlies carrying the play and looking sharper than the Dogs building up a 7-0 lead in shots. They would take a 1-0 lead on a funny one as a wrist shot from the left point that didn't appear to have a lot on it went off the tip of Connor LaCouvee's glove and went in. Mark McLellan picked up the only assist at the 4:36 mark. I thought the Bulldogs did a good job to get their feet going and generate several chances but the Grizzlies stopped their momentum when they found the net to go up 2-0 at the 13:43 mark as Gerry Fitzgerald one-timed a Jesse Schwartz pass just through LaCouvee and over the goal line. Mitch Meek also picked up an assist on the play. Just over a minute later it was 3-0 as the Grizzlies connected on the rush as Dante Hahn showed great patience to push the Dogs defence back into LaCouvee before roofing a backhand short-side. Garrett Forster picked up the only assist at 14:52 of the first, for a 3-0 Victoria lead after one, with the Grizzlies leading 11-7 in shots after 20 minutes.

The play picked up in the second period with an increase in pace and an increase in chances both ways, however neither team was able to find the net with Connor LaCouvee making a series of big saves, most notably on Gerry Fitzgerald on a 2 on 1 rush and also a desperation diving blocker save on an odd-man rush were he looked dead to rights before throwing his blocker out to keep it 3-0. The pace would really pick up following a spirited scrap between Ryan Buse and Rory McGuire deep in the Dogs zone. The first penalty call of the game didn't come until the back half of it, and the Dogs made quick work of it as they won the draw and worked it around to the top of the point for Harlan Orr who threw a quick shot on net that was deflected home by Tryg Strand in the high slot past the glove of Dillon. Craig Martin also picked an assist on the play at 13:31 of the second to make it 3-1. The Dogs would have another power play shortly afterwards, but they were unable to connect as they trailed 3-1 after one, with the shots 9-9 in the period and 20-16 Grizzlies after 40.

The Dogs were unable to trim the deficit in the third period, despite having several good chances. They would earn a 3:12 power play chance on a double minor for high sticking that drew blood on Kurt Gosselin. The Grizzlies would have the best early chance on a shorthanded breakaway by Jesse Schwartz, but LaCouvee came up with a big save to keep his team in it. The Dogs would threaten in the late stages of the power play but ultimately couldn't connect to make a game of it. The Grizzlies would add one more 11 seconds into a power play when Gerry Fitzgerald one-timed a pass from Myles from the left circle high, short-side past LaCouvee. Jaden Schmeisser also picked an assist on the play at 16:10 of the third for the 4-1 Final.

Shots favoured the Grizzlies 31-27 with Alec Dillon picking up the win while Connor LaCouvee took the loss. The Dogs went 1 for 4 on the power play while the Grizzlies also went 1 for 4.

The Dogs are next in action tomorrow night at the Dog Pound when the host the Prince George Spruce Kings on $50,000 giveaway night!


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