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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Gutsy comeback falls short as Vees edge Dogs 4-3

A fantastic pace from the get go in this one as the Bulldogs didn't appear to be nervous due to the big stage that the Showcase offers as they came out with great pace to their game off the opening puck drop. The fact that they drew a penalty just 40 seconds into the game might have also helped in settling everyone down. The first two sequences off the start of the power play were good, but the Dogs struggled and the Vees did a good job the rest of the way to not allow them a clean entry into the zone to get set up. The best early chances for the Bulldogs might have been during four-on-four hockey when the Vees were penalized just 16 seconds into their first power play of the game. The Dogs had several good looks to shoot but instead passed off - the Vees would illustrate the value in a simple shot on net less than a minute later as they opened the scoring when Tyson Jost jumped on a rebound at the side of net off a Mike Lee point shot that he slid home to make it 1-0 at the 10:39 mark with Liam Finlay also drawing an assist. The Vees would build the lead to 2-0 seven minutes later, just seconds after the Bulldogs had done a fantastic job to keep it within a goal when they killed off a two-man advantage for the Vees of just under a minute in duration as Riley Alferd found a loose puck in the slot and scored on a quick spin move, glove stick-side on Christopolous. Assists on the play went to Matthew Serratore and Mike Lee at the 17:13 mark.  The Vees led 2-0 after 20 minutes, while holding a 12-3 lead in shots.

The Bulldogs came out once again with a great start to the second period but despite several opportunities they failed to capitalize. The Vees would build the lead to 3-0 at the 7:18 mark on an odd-man rush as Liam Finlay delayed nicely at the side of the net before putting a perfect pass onto the tape of Tyson Jost in the slot who beat his man to the net to one-time one through the legs of Christopolous. Dante Fabbro also drew an assist on the play. The Vees would push the lead to 4-0 in the later stages of the period when Jost completed the hat trick as he made three Bulldog defenders miss before ripping a perfect shot top corner far-side past the glove of Billy Christopolous. Lewis Zerter-Gossage picked up the only assist at 18:03 of the second. The Bulldogs would get on the board as time expired on the period when the Coaching Staff gambled with an attacking zone face-off while on the power play and 7.4 seconds on the clock as they pulled Billy Christopolous for the extra attacker. The move would pay off as they found the net when Dylan Haugen kept the puck in on the wall for Kurt Gosselin, who set up Darian Henry in the deep slot where he fired one through Miska to get the Dogs on the board and make it 4-1 Vees after 40 minutes. Shots favoured the Vees 16-9 for a two period total of 28-12.

The third period once again started well for the Bulldogs as they pushed the pace and got several opportunities around the Vees net. They would capitalize on the rush to make it a two-goal game when Kurt Gosselin head-manned it to Josh Adkins up the right wing where he gained the Vees line and found Scott Clark going to the net where he snapped one top corner, far-side over the blocker of Miska to make it a 4-2 game 6:37 into the third. The Dogs would be sent to the penalty box shortly afterwards, but they found the net anyway as Dylan Haugen blocked a shot at the line and raced in on a shorthanded breakaway where he ripped one short-side off the cuff of Miska's glove and just over the line to make it 4-3, shorthanded and unassisted with 9:40 gone in the third period. The Bulldogs would kill the penalty off - and then kill another penalty off almost immediately afterwards. Embellished, but undisciplined, the Bulldogs certainly could have used the time to work on the attack instead of the penalty kill. Shortly after another successful kill, the Bulldogs looked like they deserved an opportunity of their own on the man-advantage when Troy Dobbs was drilled head first into the boards behind the Bulldog net but no call came from either Referee. The Dogs would push hard for the equalizer in the final minute and change with the goalie out and moved the puck well around the offensive zone but the Vees did a great job of blocking shots as nothing got through to Miska as they made the lead stand for the 4-3 Final.

Shots favoured Penticton 35-22 with Billy Christopolous taking the loss in net while Hunter Miska picked up the win. The Dogs went 1 for 4 on the power play while the Vees went 0 for 8.

It's a quick turn around for the Bulldogs as they conclude their appearance in the Showcase tomorrow morning at 11:00am when they take on the Prince George Spruce Kings. 

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