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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dogs top Cents 2-1, tie Caps for 4th on the Island.

The Bulldogs got off to a good start on the first two shifts, getting a great chance as Tryg Strand walked out of the right hand corner and drove the net, only to have Jarrod Schamerhorn make a good save to keep it scoreless. On the net shift the Dogs would head to the penalty box. While the Dogs would kill the penalty, the Centennials would appear to take some momentum as they had the better of the play in the early stages of the game. The Bulldogs would take a 1-0 lead on a delayed penalty in the back half the period as Quinton Wunder threw the puck at the net where it was deflected home by Tryg Strand. Justin Georgeson also picked up an assist on the play at 14:59 of the first. The lead didn't last long, as another penalty to the Dogs ended up in the back of their net when Dane Birks one-timed home a loose puck low past the stick side of LaCouvee. Assists on the play went to Tyler Martin and Scott Patterson at 18:48 of the first. The Dogs would have a glorious chance on the ensuing faceoff to take the lead back on a 2 on 1 worked to perfection as Craig Martin put a cross-ice feed onto the tape of Mitch Owsley on the doorstep, but Schamerhorn went post to post to make a highlight reel glove save to keep it 1-1 after one, with the shots favouring the Cents 11-7.

The second period was played tight to the vest by both sides, with the score staying 1-1 until just short of the midway mark of the game when the Dogs connected on a 5 on 3 power play. After they won a long battle against the end boards to get possession, Justin Georgeson found Darian Henry at the line where he walked into the deep slot before wiring a wrister top corner, short-side past the blocker of Schamerhorn to make it 2-1 at 9:09 of the second with the only assist going to Mitch Owsley. The Bulldogs would carry the play throughout the remainder of the period, looking more like a team coming off two days off while the Centennials looked more like a team playing their third game in two and a half days. Despite a large edge in chances, the Dogs couldn't build their lead as it stayed 2-1 Dogs after two, with the Dogs leading the shots 22-19.

The Centennials would come out with renewed energy in the third period, holding a slight edge in the play early. They went to a power play and threw five shots on net, but LaCouvee and the Bulldog penalty killers held the fort with the score remaining 2-1 until the latter stages of the third, and all the way through to the final minutes of the game. The Dogs would have a great chance to put the game away with just over a minute left as Kurt Gosselin skated in on a breakaway that was stopped by Schamerhorn to keep the Centennials in it. The Cents would call Time Out with 1:02 left and a neutral ice face-off at the Dogs line. The Bulldogs would do a masterful job of killing the remaining time, turning the Centennials back repeatedly at centre ice, and generating several good chances around the Merritt net, as the Centennials weren't able to get the goalie to the bench for the extra attacker before the final buzzer sounded.

Final shots were even at 36 aside, with Connor LaCouvee earning 1st star honours with the win while Jarrod Schamerhorn took 3rd star honours with the loss. Both teams went 1 for 6 on the power play.

With the win, the Dogs tie the Capitals for the Final Island Division Playoff spot with each team having four games left. The Dogs are in Victoria on Friday, and back at home to the Grizzlies on Saturday.

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