Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Grizzlies force Game 7 with 3-1 win
A high intensity and high pressure start to this one as both teams seemed very aware of the stakes. The Bulldogs appeared somewhat tight as they fought the puck on several instances. They would get a great early chance when Craig Martin was alone in the slot, but Chris Albertini came up with a great shot block. The Grizzlies would open the scoring on the power play on a questionable penalty - from some Officials, you always seem to find a way to get the extra two which happened in this instance as Scott Clark finished his check at the Grizzlies bench, which saw the Grizzlies player hit the boards and pop the bench door open. Chris Albertini would challenge Clark and give him a shot, Clark would answer with one back, which then saw Albertini go down. Clark would get the extra two, and the Grizzlies would capitalize on it when Jaden Schmeisser scored from the right circle with a wrist shot that hit the far-side post past the blocker of LaCouvee and bounced in. Assists on the play went to Leo and Gerry Fitzgerald at 7:34 of the first. The Bulldogs responded well to the goal, getting several good chances throughout the remainder of the period - Dylan Haugen busted through the defence and skated in on a partial breakaway where Nic Renyard made a great blocker save. Garrett Halls would throw a perfect cross-slot pass onto the tape of Tryg Strand at the backdoor, but Renyard got his right pad on it. The Dogs would be awarded two power plays in the back-half of the period on back-to-back penalties to Myles Fitzgerald, and despite several good chances around the net they couldn't capitalize as the Grizzlies led 1-0 after one with the shots tied at 9-9.
The second period saw the Grizzlies come out and push to build the lead, but despite the Bulldogs held them off the board. Near the midpoint of the period the Bulldogs started to control the play and back-to-back shifts in the Grizzlies end saw them tie the game when the puck came through the slot headed to the line. Garrett Halls would have the presence of mind to let it go and not play it, and Kurt Gosselin one-timed it home past the blocker of Renyard, short-side to make it 1-1 with Mitch Makin picking up the only assist at 9:43 of the second. The score stayed that way until the late stages of the second when the Grizzlies took a 2-1 lead, in controversial fashion. Ryan Buse was hit by a shot on the rush in what looked like the chest. He was down in the corner, as the Dogs had possession of the puck behind the net. Referee Steve Brown looked on. As Buse struggled to the bench, the Grizzlies skated in on a 2 on 1 rush. Storm Wahlrab would drive the net, where he was stopped by LaCouvee. The initial thought from most in the building at the speed it happened was that he ran the goalie. A second it appears that he just put the puck on the net and body check the pile, hitting Kurt Gosselin from behind, impeding LaCouvee, with the puck ending up over the line. The Officials would discuss it, and allow a goal to the Grizzlies, with Wahlrab incredibly not even figuring in on the scoring play as Mark McLellan got credit, from Brandon Egli at 18:30 of the second to make it 2-1. The Grizzlies would score on the very next shift to make it a 3-1 game as Jesse Schwartz went to the net and no one picked him up. Connor LaCovee raised his arm for icing on the play, but the call didn't come. Credit to the Grizzlies for continuing to play, as Schwartz accepted a perfect pass right between the hash marks from Travis Stephens that he one-timed past the blocker of LaCouvee to make it 3-1 at 19:17 of the second for a 3-1 Grizzlies lead after 40 minutes with the Grizzlies leading the shots 19-18.
The Bulldogs would be given ample opportunities by the Officials to get back into the game with back to back power plays to start the third period. Despite several good looks on scrambles and rebounds, they were unable to capitalize. There would be no scoring in the period as the Bulldogs were unable to generate much of a sustained offensive attack. There was a plethora of penalties and a mix of everything as the game turned into a bit of sideshow with the Grizzlies making the lead stand to force a Game 7 tomorrow night.
Final shots favoured the Bulldogs 27-24 with Nic Renyard picking up the win while Connor LaCouvee took the loss. Unofficial numbers on the special teams as it became hard to tabulate when it became a bit of a circus saw the Bulldogs go 0 for 4 on the power play while the Grizzlies went 0 for 6.
Quite the tough pill to swallow to see the game winning goal scored under the circumstances that it was. That's hockey I guess, but there is a difference in going TO the net going INTO the net/crease, and in my opinion quite simply the goalie should have a chance to make the save. LaCouvee getting impeded by a couple of players getting run over into him didn't allow him that opportunity.
Enough of my opinion, what is yours?