Sunday, September 21, 2014
Dogs valiant comeback falls short for second straight day, Spruce Kings win 6-5.
Another great start for the Bulldogs, as they had the Spruce Kings hemmed in their zone for the first minute of play and had several good chances. They would promptly take a penalty in their own zone, and the Spruce Kings would make them pay on the man advantage on a cross-ice pass that it looked like Nathan Warren might have had a good piece of with his glove, but it just trickled over the line. Justin Rai would get credit for the marker, with Chad Staley and Matthew Stief picking up the assists at the 2:33 mark. Despite finding themselves in a hole early, the Bulldogs pushed right back and continued to control the bulk of the play. They went to a man-advantage of their own and had nothing but chances over the duration of the full two minutes, but Alex Brooks-Potts was fantastic in the Spruce Kings net to keep it 1-0. Less than a minute after the power play had elapsed, the Spruce Kings built their lead against the flow of play as the Bulldogs turned the puck over in their own end and Nathan Warren made a great first save on a wide-open Chad Staley in front. He couldn't find the rebound though as Jeremiah Luedtke drove the net and out-fought the Bulldogs defense to poke it home on the backhand. Justin Rai also drew an assist on the play at 11:19 of the first. The Spruce Kings would be penalized in the scrum after the goal, so the Dogs went right back to the power play to try and get back in it. That chance would be short-lived though, as less than 30 seconds later Darian Henry would pick up an unsportsanlike conduct penalty for something that occurred after the whistle. The Bulldogs would once again continue to control the play and pepper Alex Brooks-Potts with shots during four-aside hockey, but they couldn't find the back of the net. Just over a minute later during five-on-five hockey the Spruce Kings again scored against the flow of play as Michael Buonincontri snuck in on a partial breakway and somehow fought one through Warren while fighting off the Bulldog defender. Cole Todd and Taylor Allan picked up the assists on the goal at 15:06 of the first as it was 3-0 Spruce Kings, with Billy Christopolous entering the game in relief of Warren to end the first. The score would stay 3-0 Spruce Kings into the second, with the Dogs leading the shots 20 to 9.
The Bulldogs got off to a fantastic start to the second, getting on the board just half a minute in when Kurt Gosselin went to the net and one-timed a rebound up and over the blocker of Brooks-Potts, with assists going to Scottie Clark and Tyler Povelofskie at 31 seconds of the second. The Bulldogs weren't able to built on it though, as just three minutes later it was 4-1 Spruce Kings when Brogan O'Brien raced in on the breakaway where he went top corner with a beautiful backhand over the glove of Nathan Warren, who came back in to start the second. Three minutes later it was 5-1 as Chad Staley drove the net on a partial break and jammed one home through/around Warren, with assists to Cole Todd and Michael Buonincontri at 6:02. The Dogs did well to stop the bleeding and stay in the game, finally getting on the board on the power play with five minutes to go in the frame when Garrett Halls put a wrist shot on net from the top of the right circle that found it's way over the line through the legs of Brooks-Potts. Scott Clark was given credit for the goal, but he clearly didn't touch it, so let's call it Halls from Evan Tironese and Kurt Gosselin at 14:52 of the second, making it 5-2. Again the Bulldogs couldn't build on the goal, as they were again caught up ice resulting in an odd-man rush the other way that saw Justin Rai cut across the slot and rip one up over the blocker arm of Warren. Assists on the play went to Marco Ballarin and Trevor Pereverzoff at 18:57 of the second for a 6-2 Spruce King lead after 40 minutes with the Dogs leading the shots 32-19.
The first couple of minutes of the third period were evenly played back and forth, but in short order the Bulldogs started to dominate the play. They would get rewarded just under five minutes into the period after a long containment shift in the attacking zone when Zak Bowles picked up a shot that missed the net and jammed home a wrap around before Brooks-Potts could get back to the post. Eric Margo and Darian Henry drew the helpers at 4:55 as it was 6-3. The Dogs continued to push and carry the play and after countless chances to score they were rewarded on the power play when Scott Clark found a rebound off the post and one-timed it into the open side. Kurt Gosselin and Tyler Povelofskie picked up the assists at 7:39 of the third to make it 6-4. The Bulldogs certainly had the Spruce Kings attention once they cut the deficit in half, but they still continued to control the play and pepper Brooks-Potts with a tonne of pucks. After several near-misses somehow stayed out, they finally trimmed the gap to one just after a Prince George time out was taken as Evan Tironese deflected home a Garrett Halls shot from the right point to make it 6-5, with Tyler Povelofskie also picking up an assist with 4:47 to play in the third. The Spruce Kings did a good job to kill time over the next couple of minutes as the Dogs struggled to once again hem them in their zone. With 1:30 left the Bulldogs used their time out to talk strategy and get the goalie out for the extra attacker and did a good job to gain the zone and generate several chances, having a couple near misses on deflections and scrambles. In the end, it's as close as they would get as the Spruce Kings held on for the 6-5 win.
Shots in the third period were 21 to 1, no - that's not a typo, for a game total of 53-20. Alex Brooks-Potts picked up the win while Nathan Warren took the loss playing about 54 minutes. The Bulldogs went 2 for 7 on the power play while the Spruce Kings went 1 for 3.
The Bulldogs next see action Saturday night when they host the Powell River Kings for their Home Opener.