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Sunday, February 02, 2014

Grizz top Dogs 9-5

The Bulldogs came out flat, while the Grizzlies came out absolutely flying, taking a 3-0 lead before the game was three minutes old. It was 1-0 just 1:24 into the game when Gerry Fitzgerald scored on the power play from the right faceoff dot on a shot that appeared to hit traffic before going past the glove of Connor LaCouvee. Just 20 seconds later it was 2-0 when Travis Stephens took a pass off the wall at centre ice and raced around a Bulldog defender and in on a breakaway where he tucked one home past LaCouvee at 1:44. The goal was unassisted, but he was definitely sent in by a teammate. The Bulldogs would call Time Out to try and right the ship, but less than a minute later it was 3-0 when Stephens picked up a pass up the middle in the Dogs zone and skated in alone where he went top corner, glove side on LaCouvee to make it 3-0 at 2:40 as Nathan Warren would come in off the bench in relief. He would be tested frequently as the Grizzlies continued to carry the play, and he came up with a handful of good saves to keep the Dogs in it. They would get on the board to trim the gap to 3-1 just short of seven minutes in when Harlan Orr found a puck back of the net that was misplayed by Nic Renyard. He would make the first save on a wrap around, but Orr stuck with it to poke the rebound home. Scott Clark picked up the only assist at 6:57 of the first. The Dogs weren't able to build on the momentum as the Grizzlies fired back four minutes later as Jesse Schwartz scored on a nice cross-ice pass from Garrett Forster, who picked off another pass up the middle. Travis Stephens also drew an assist on the play at 9:45 of the first. Four minutes later it was 5-1 when the Grizzlies fired back on another partial breakaway as Jesse Schwartz picked up a pass and drove the net down the right wing where he put a backhand off the glove and Warren and just over the goal line. No assists were given on the play at 13:32 of the first for a 5-1 Victoria lead after one with the Grizzlies also leading the shots 14-9. 

The Bulldogs came out inspired to start the second, trying to atone for laying an egg in the first. They had a handful of great chances on the first shift, but Nic Renyard came up big. At the other end, Gerry Fitzgerald skated in on a breakaway a minute later, which was stopped by Warren. Just two minutes later Renyard came up huge on a cross-ice one timer for Mitch Makin to keep it 5-1. The Grizzlies would open up a five goal lead just short of the seven minute mark and the end of a good containment shift in the Dogs end as Brandon Egli walked into the deep slot where beat Warren off his goal stick to make it 6-1. The goal was un-assisted at 6:53 of the second. The Dogs were in survival mode for a spell after that, but they hung on and got back in the game with two quick ones. The first of which was the first of Rob Click's career, as Ryan Buse blocked a shot at the end of a Victoria power play, and found Click exiting the penalty box for a partial breakaway. Renyard would make the first save, but Click drove the net and buried his own rebound to make it 6-2 at the 13:18 mark. It was 6-3 just over two minutes later as Scott Clark carried the puck over the Victoria line and threw a wrister on net that beat a screened Renyard low, far side at 15:23 with Harlan Orr picking up the only assist. The Grizzlies would take the 6-3 lead to the room after 40 minutes, with the Dogs leading in the shots 26-22, out-shooting the Grizzlies 17-8 over the period. 

The third period began much like the first, with the Bulldogs giving up two goals in the first minute and change. The first came off the stick of Jesse Schwartz as he walked in down the left wing into the deep slot where he beat Warren high glove side for the hat trick, 59 seconds into the period with assists going to Garrett Forster and Chris Albertini. Just 15 seconds later it was 8-3 when Gerry Fitzgerald went to the net where he was stopped by Warren. He didn't get any help on the rebound though, as Myles Fitzgerald chipped it home. Brandon Egli also picked up an assist on the play at 1:14 of the third. The Bulldogs again refused to quit, as they fought back to make it 8-4 six minutes later when Mitch Owsley kept the puck in at the Victoria line and drove the net in alone where he went top corner on the backhand from in tight. The goal was un-assisted at 7:04 of the third. The Dogs would trim the gap to 8-5 seven minutes later when Quentin Wunder drove the net and forced a rebound and the goalie over the line in a mad scramble. The Officials would discuss it, but the goal stood. There was no assists, but someone certainly threw the puck on net, I believe Mitch Owsley or Mitch Makin. At any length, it trimmed the gap to 8-5 at 14:14 of the third. That's as close as the Dogs would get, although they had some late chances when they went to a five minute power play as Jesse Schwartz ran over Nathan Warren who had raced out to try and beat him to the puck. It gave the Dogs a good chance to get back into it with 3:45 to play but the Grizzlies held the lead until hitting the empty net with 1:07 to play as Mark McLellan hit the empty net from the Grizzlies end. Assists on the play went to Jacob Kearley and Chris Albertini.

Final shots favoured the Dogs 41-32 with Connor LaCouvee and Nathan Warren sharing the duties, with LaCouvee entering the game after Warren was run over by Schwartz. Nic Renyard picked up the win for the Grizzlies. The Dogs went 0 for 5 on the power play, while the Grizzlies went 2 for 4 w     while also scoring shorthanded into the empty net.  

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