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Saturday, March 08, 2014

Dogs beat Grizzlies 3-1 to take 3-1 series lead

Good end-to-end hockey off the hop in Game 4 as there were no whistles over the first four minutes. The Bulldogs would have a good chance initially off a scramble, with the Grizzlies also having several opportunities on the first power play. The Bulldogs would go to a man advantage of their own shortly afterwards but the Grizzlies killed it off. The Dogs would open the scoring in the late stages of the first when Josh Adkins stepped up at the red line to knock down a loose puck. Zach Funk would pick it up and make a nice move at the Grizzlies line to make a defender miss and race in down the right wing on a 2 on 1 rush where he kept the puck and caught Dillon maybe thinking pass, ripping one home short-side with a quick release for a 1-0 lead with the only assist to Adkins at 15:53 of the first. The Dogs would carry that lead into the room with the shots even after 20 minutes at 11 aside.

The second period was again hotly contested, with great battles in all areas of the ice. Both teams would have their chances through the early stages, with neither goalie giving up anything. The best chance was a clear cut breakaway for Zak Bowles, but Dillon just got a piece of it with his glove to keep it out. The score stayed 1-0 again until the late stages of the frame as the Dogs went end-to-end off a faceoff win their own end by Mitch Makin that saw a pretty odd-man rush up ice set up by Zak Bowles who fed Craig Martin, who then returned the pass for Bowles and went to the net where he got a return pass and cut across the crease on the backhand where he tucked it home to make it 2-0 at 15:01 of the second. The Grizzlies would push hard over the final five minutes to get back into it, but LaCouvee came up with a series of big saves to keep it 2-0 after two with the shots again even at 29-29.

The third period saw the Bulldogs do a great job to kill off a Grizzlies power play of over a minute in duration carried over from the 2nd period. The scoring would come earlier in the frame this time, with the Grizzlies scoring their first road-goal of the series when Jaden Schmeisser picked up a loose puck at centre ice and wheeled over the Bulldogs line up the right wing where he snapped one top corner, short-side over the glove of LaCouvee to make it 2-1, unassisted at 4:31 of the third. The game wouldn't change for very long, as the Dogs answered less than 30 seconds later as Jake Kauppila and Harlan Orr battled hard to dislodge the puck off the left wing in the Grizzlies end where it ended up out front on the tape of Scottie Clark who ripped one top corner over the glove of Dillon to make it 3-1 at 5:00 of the third. The Grizzlies would have their chances including another power play but they couldn't beat LaCouvee as the Dogs made the lead stand.

Final shots favoured the Grizzlies 48-37, with Connor LaCouvee picking up 1st star honours again with the win while Alec Dillon took the loss. The Dogs went 0 for 2 on the power play while the Grizzlies went 0 for 4.

With the win, the Bulldogs have a 3-1 series lead and a chance to advance Monday in Victoria as the Grizzlies host Game 5.


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