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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Dogs tie series 1-1 with 6-3 win in Game 2, take Home Ice back to the Dog Pound

A much better start to Game 2 for the Bulldogs, as they appeared to have their feet going better from the get go as opposed to the first game. Tryg Strand would have a great look wide open at the top of the crease but he couldn't get it past Renyard. Jake Kauppila would also have a partial breakaway where Renyard made the save just dragging his pad to get a toe on it. The Grizzlies would start to take over the play near the five minute mark, going to the power play. The Bulldogs would kill it off until the final four seconds of the advantage when they were again penalized, which drew protests from the Bulldogs Coaching Staff as they appeared to think it was a dive. The Grizzlies would find the net on the opportunity to go up 1-0 when two Bulldogs collided and took each other out behind the net as the puck went to the top of the left circle for Brandon Egli who one-timed it home top corner far-side over the glove of LaCouvee. Assists on the play went to Myles and Leo Fitzgerald at 12:30 of the first. Almost immediately afterwards the Bulldogs went to the power play where they battled hard to tie the game with their first goal of the series on a scramble with Hunter Stewart deflecting a cross-ice pass from Justin Georgeson off the post and into Nic Renyard before it was jammed home. Jake Kauppila and Mitch Makin were both jamming at it, with Makin getting credit for the goal, with no assists being given on the play at 14:43 of the first. Just two shifts later the Grizzlies would get it right back when they won a long battle on the boards in the Dogs zone before getting the puck to the slot. Connor LaCouvee would make the first save on Jesse Schwartz but Garrett Forster found the rebound and fired it home glove side at 15:50 with Travis Stephens also assisting the play as the Grizzlies led 2-1 after 20 minutes while leading the shots 17-9.

The Bulldogs would kill off 1:40 of Grizzlies power play time to start the second, before being sent to the box again shortly afterwards for a Bench Minor for Too-Many-Men. They would again kill it off, before shortly afterwards going to the power play where they again connected. After a good first minute of pressure the Grizzlies would clear it down ice, but Connor LaCouvee would get a quick up onto the stick of Hunter Stewart at the attacking blue line to catch the Grizzlies changing. Stewart would put a perfect saucer pass to the middle for Tryg Strand who skated in on the breakaway where he tucked a backhand past Renyard to tie it at 2-2 at 7:32 of the second. Just 1:10 later the Bulldogs took their first lead of the game and the series, on a really odd play as a Grizzlies dump in his Zak Bowles in the face in what was a scary scene. The Bulldogs would touch the puck, but the Referees didn't blow play dead. Credit to Bowles for his toughness for not staying down and laying on the ice as while he was struggling to the bench the Dogs raced up ice on a breakaway when Mitch Makin poked the puck out at the line. Makin would be stopped by Renyard, but Craig Martin showed great hustle to catch up to the play and beat his man to the net where he tapped the loose puck home before Renyard could find it to make it 3-2 Dogs at 8:42 of the second. The Grizzlies would fight back to tie the game four minutes later on a quick puck to the net off the left half boards that was deflected on net by Myles Fitzgerald. LaCouvee would appear to make the initial save, but Myles tipped the rebound home to make it 3-3 from Rory McGuire and Gerry Fitzgerald at 11:58 of the second. It was the Dogs turn to answer back four minutes later as Craig Martin did an incredible job to keep the puck in at the line before driving down the right wing. Martin would get pulled off the puck with a Grizzlies stick across his waist with Martin raising his arms skyward and looking at both Referees for a call that never came. Another no-call by the Officials would work in the Dogs favour as Hunter Stewart retrieved the puck and centered to Martin who put a wrist shot from the slot off the blocker of Renyard and in to make it 4-3 at 15:48 of the second. The Dogs would take that lead into the third, with the Grizzlies leading in the shots 32-20.

The Bulldogs began the third period on the power play for 1:40, but were unable to capitalize. The Grizzlies would get a golden opportunity to equalize when they went to back-to-back power plays, including a 5 on 3 for over 20 seconds. The Bulldogs would kill it off to protect their lead, doing a fantastic job on the penalty kill. They would get some insurance with eight minutes to play when Zak Bowles knocked the puck away at the Bulldog line and raced away on a breakaway where he faked backhand and showed great patience to tuck a forehand past the pad to Renyard to make it 5-3 Dogs, unassisted, with 11:13 gone in the third. The Dogs would go a good job to protect the lead, with the Grizzlies going to a power play on a phantom call on Josh Adkins with the Dogs again killing it off. After being tripped off stride and failing to draw a penalty, Scott Clark would go to the box seconds later with 2:45 to go in the third. The Bulldogs would kill it off until Tryg Strand sealed the deal on a shorthanded 2 on 0 rush as he and Mitch Makin fought the puck out of the zone and raced in on a breakaway where Strand jammed it home to make it 6-3 with Mitch Makin also picking up an assist at 18:19 of the third. The Bulldogs would get a power play with less than a minute to play to salt away the rest of the clock.

Connor LaCouvee picked up 1st star honours with the win while Nic Renyard took the loss. The Dogs went 2 for 4 on the power play - their final opportunity less than a minute long, while the Grizzlies went 1 for 9.

With the win the Bulldogs have taken Home Ice from the Grizzlies as the series heads back to the Dog Pound for Games 3 and 4 Friday and Saturday. Game 5 goes in Victoria on Monday night.


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