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Monday, March 10, 2014

Grizzlies force Tuesday night Game 6 with 9-2 win

The Bulldogs came out with their best start of the series without question, getting several good chances early before taking a 1-0 lead as Quinton Wunder had a shot blocked that came back to him in the left circle that he fired home short-side past the blocker of Nic Renyard just 1:40 in with assists to Tryg Strand and Hunter Stewart. The Bulldogs would continue to have the edge in the play as the Grizzlies appeared tight or the Bulldogs were boosted by their great fan support on the road. The Dogs had numerous chances, most notably on a 3 on 1 rush but they couldn't build the lead. The Grizzlies would get their feet underneath them and started to carry the play getting a tonne of pucks on net. LaCouvee would again be rock solid to keep the Grizzlies off the board coming up with a handful of great saves, but the Grizzlies persisted and tied the game with five minutes to go in the period as Mitch Meek was roofed a loose puck from the slot top corner over the glove of LaCouvee after he made an initial save on a Storm Wahlrab wrap-around. Jay Mackie also picked up an assist on the play at 15:00 of the first. The Grizzlies would keep up the pressure and build the lead on a 3 on 2 rush as Leo Fitzgerald went to the net down the right wing and went top corner, short-side on the backhand to make it 2-1. Assists on the play went to Gerry Fitzgerald and Rory McGuire at 18:47 of the first with the Grizzlies up in the shots after 20 minutes 21-7.

The Bulldogs would kill off a Grizzlies power play to start the second period, and then had several good chances at the end of it to try and even it up but they couldn't capitalize. The Grizzlies would take a 3-1 lead on a bad bounce...or a good bounce from the Grizzlies perspective, as a one-timer from the line that was missing the net hit the skate of a Bulldog defender and went in up and over the shoulder of LaCouvee. Jaden Schmeisser would get credit for the goal, with assists going to Brandon Egli and Gerry Fitzgerald at 3:18 of the second. The Bulldogs would have a power play chance to trim the defecit when Cole Pickup cross-checked Connor LaCouvee in the head after the whistle, but they were unable to take advantage of the opportunity. The Grizzlies would take a 4-1 lead later in the frame when they won an extended battle in the Dogs end from the half-boards down to the corner and back up the wall again where it finally came loose and onto the tape of Storm Wahlrab who put a quick shot on goal from the bottom of the right circle top corner, short-side on LaCouvee. Mark McLellan picked up the only assist on the play at 11:22 of the second. Despite the deficit - or due to the Grizzlies taking their foot off the gas, the Bulldogs would really push hard over the remainder of the period and had a series of chances on both odd-man rushes and goal mouth scrambles but they couldn't get a bounce to trim the gap with the Grizzlies taking the lead to the room after 40 minutes, leading the shots 30-23.

The Bulldogs came close to trimming the gap at the five minute mark of the third when Justin Georgeson picked off a Jared Schmeisser pass up the middle to skate in alone on Renyard. He would beat the goalie, but his shot rang off the post and stayed out. The Grizzlies would build on their lead just a minute later when Garrett Forster walked up ice on a 3 on 1 rush up the left wing where he kept the puck and fired a slap shot top corner over the glove of LaCouvee to make it 5-1 with Rory McGuire picking up the only assist at 6:28 of the third. An undisciplined penalty on the next shift put the Bulldogs on the penalty kill, and the Grizzlies connected as Leo Fitzgerald snuck one in on the rush short-side past the blocker of LaCouvee to make it 6-1 at 7:42 with assists to Jaden Schmeisser and Jacob Kearley. The Bulldogs would pull Connor LaCouvee on the next whistle to give him a rest and the game out of reach. The Bulldogs would respond to make it a 6-2 game as Darian Henry scored on a wrist shot from the top of the left circle, far side past the glove of Renyard, with assists to Harlan Orr and Garrett Halls at 9:10 of the third. The Dogs were unable to build on it though, as the Grizzlies beat Giroux on their first shot just over a minute later with Myles Fitzgerald scoring from Leo and Gerry at 10:19 to make it 7-2. Just half a minute later it was an 8-2 as Jacob Kearley was allowed to walk right in to the deep slot where he snapped one through the seven-hole on Giroux. Assists went to Myles and Gerry Fitzgerald 10:41 of the third. One more exactly two minutes later would make it a 9-2 Final as a Bulldog defender stepped up at the attacking line and gave up a long odd-man rush that was finished off perfectly by Garrett Forster as he one-timed home a Jesse Schwartz pass at the bottom of the left circle into the open net. Shawn McBride also drew an assist on the play at 12:41 of the third.

Final shots favoured the Grizzlies 45-30, with Nic Renyard picking up the win while Connor LaCouvee took the loss giving up 6 goals on 37 shots in 48:55 minutes of work. The Bulldogs went 0 for 4 on the power play while the Grizzlies went 1 for 4.

With the win, the Grizzlies stave off elimination and force a Game 6 Tuesday night at the Dog Pound. Tickets go on sale Tuesday Morning at 8am, with Season Ticket and Corporate Ticket holders having until 2pm to pick up their tickets before they are released to the public.



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