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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Bulldogs visit Grizzlies tonight to open Playoffs

After the whirlwind roller coaster that was the Regular Season, the slate has been wiped clean as the Bulldogs open defense of the Island Championship where they won it last year, as they visit the Grizzlies tonight at 100.3 The Q Centre to open the 2014 BCHL Playoffs for Game 1 of this Best-of-Seven Island Semi Final series.

The Bulldogs were last in action Saturday night at Home where they beat the Kings 3-0. They would then head to the dressing room and listen to the radio to find out that they were indeed in the Playoffs thanks to the Grizzlies, who beat the Capitals 5-2 on Home ice to capture the top seed on the Island.

The Bulldogs and their fans were big fans of the Grizzlies for about five minutes. That might be a bit of a stretch actually, but it is certainly a little bit odd that the Bulldogs will face the team in the Playoffs that had a hand in them getting into the dance.

The Grizzlies lead the season series, with the Bulldogs record in head-to-head play being 1-5-1-1. The last time these teams met was on February 22nd, a 6-2 Bulldog win on another crazy night in the Bulldogs run to the Playoffs. A loss that night, coupled with a Capitals win, and they would have been all but out. Pretty crazy when you look back on it now and it was just a couple of weeks ago. 

It's a bit of a change this year for fans and players that were around last year, as the first two rounds of the Playoffs last year were best of five series. It changes the complexion somewhat - if you lose the first two games on the road you obviously faced elimination heading home.

As much as the post season is about bringing your best every night, it's also about bringing your best every shift, and managing the "peaks and the valleys" where one night you can be sky high and the next night you can be as low as you can go. I think the Bulldogs are somewhat prepared in this regard due to the ups and downs they have experienced over the last 20 games of the season trying to qualify for the Playoffs, and the stakes that existed with almost every single game.

Playoff hockey is a battle of attrition as well, and the Bulldogs need to remember it's not just about the now, but about how what you do every shift every game has a cumulative effect that can have an impact as the series goes on. One would think that the players that were part of last year's crazy run will benefit from the experience gained last year, and that they can lead by example and pass that experience along to the guys playing in the post season for the first time.  

Their opposition will be very tough. You don't end up where the Grizzlies did at the end of the season without solid depth, scoring, defensive play, goaltending, special teams, coaching, etc etc. 

Here's hoping for a great series and some exciting hockey. Everything is big and everything is magnified this time of year. Faceoffs, physical play, preparation, discipline can all be the difference. The "intangibles" so to speak also will be huge. Leadership, adjusting, composure, bearing down, desperation, etc, etc.

Enough talk, drop the puck already!
 We'll bring all the action to you from 100.3 The Q Centre on Pacific Chevrolet Bulldogs Hockey on 93.3 The Peak FM  with the pregame show kicking off at 7:00 with the puck drop and play-by-play to follow at 7:15 with myself, Bruce MacDonald and Dan Tisserand.

If you aren't in listening range of 93.3 The Peak FM you can listen/watch the game by:

Listening Live on your computer:
Listening Live on your SmartPhone :
Watching Live on your computer/SmartPhone

Tonight's 2nd Intermission guest is former Bulldog Connor Varley, named the Top Defenceman for the Bulldogs in 2010-2011, now in his Sophmore season with Penn State

For those that aren't active on Social Media, I had to share this from the Bulldogs Facebook Page

"Another reason why Alberni Valley Bulldogs fans are the best...thanks to the 1,000+ fans who passed around and signed the big red card during the game last night. The boys loved it!!! And special thanks to Lyle Pitts for getting it going.:

Just plain awesome, another "only in Port Alberni" moment!


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