After the player introductions and ceremonial puck drop, the Grizzlies had the early edge in play and chances over the early minutes up 5-1 in shots. The Bulldogs started to push back around the five minute mark and began to carry the play and get plenty of pucks on Michael Stiliadis in the Victoria net. The Dogs would push the pace and get rewarded for it as Chris Schutz drove the net and found a Darian Henry centering pass that he chipped into the open side with Stiliadis out of position. Scott Clark also picked up an assist on the play at 8:16 of the first period. The Dogs would keep up the pressure, but couldn't build their lead. Shortly afterwards, the Grizzlies would go to the power play and while they didn't score, it changed some of the momentum as they got their feet under them and started to carry more of the play. They weren't able to beat Christopolous though, as the score stayed 1-0 Dogs after 20 minutes, with the Dogs leading the shots 12-9.
The Bulldogs got off to a good start in the second and had several good looks and carried the better of the play, leading to a power play opportunity. They would make quick work of it as Kurt Gosselin showed great patience and strength on the puck to walk to the top of the blue line off the left wing wall where he blew a slap shot through traffic past the blocker of Stiliadis to make it 2-0. Assists on the play went to Scott Cooke and Scott Clark at 14:46 of the second. The Bulldogs would keep up the pressure, and had several great offensive chances around the net but Stiliadis held the fort. The Grizzlies had a fantastic chance to get on the board on a stretch pass that resulted in a breakaway for Cody Van Lierop who appeared to try and drop it off his skate and back up to his stick in an attempt to deke it home but Christopolous stuck with it to make a left toe save. Off the ensuing face-off a bouncing puck came to the net and Christopolous made another fantastic save knocking a loose puck off the goal line with the paddle of his stick to keep it 2-0. The Bulldogs would have a fantastic chance the other way to build the lead when Scott Clark raced in on a breakaway, but Stiliadis make a great glove save on a backhand deke to keep the Grizzlies in it. The Grizzlies would persist and keep stretching the ice, getting another breakaway and this time connecting on it as Mitchell Barker accepted a stretch pass from Cody Van Lierop and racing in alone where he snapped one past the blocker of Christopolous to make it 2-1 at 14:46 of the second. Minutes later a large scrum erupted at the Bulldog net that had numerous players throwing punches. The Bulldogs would pick up the only penalty out of the skirmish, which had to be somewhat frustrating as the Dogs couldn't draw a penalty when they were carrying the play. The Bulldogs were close to scoring shorthanded when Kurt Gosselin rang one off the bar on a 1 on 1 rush. Instead it was a 2-2 game as the Grizzlies attacked the zone with speed and connected on a cross-ice pass from Jay Mackie that was finished off by Brett Gruber on a one-timer that beat Christopolous low stick-side before he could get over. Meirs Moore also picked up an assist on the play at 17:24 of the second for a 2-2 tie after 40 minutes. The Grizzlies outshot the Dogs 14-9 over the period, for a 23-21 advantage.
The third period in the early minutes was great hockey played tight to the vest at a high pace. The Dogs had a great chance to take the lead when Kurt Gosselin drove the net and took a cross-ice pass from Eric Margo that he lifted high but Stiliadis coming from his right to his left somehow got his glove up to keep it out. Not soon after a large skirmish broke out as prior to a face-off in the Bulldog end, Grizzlies centreman Mitchell Barker attacked Evan Tironese with two vicious baseball/golf swing two-hand slashes. There would somehow be no penalty on the play, but Tironese went after Barker on the half-boards to defend himself. Tironese and Scott Clark would pick up misconducts, as would Barker and Cole Pickup for the Grizzlies - who got into it with Clark and took advantage of Clark being down, continuing to punch him. Here's a video of the incident if you would rather see for yourself as opposed to taking my word on it.
On the next play, a high hit resulted in a misconduct to Garrett Forster. Kurt Gosselin would drop the gloves to defend his teammate, but the linesman jumped in to prevent the fight from happening. Gosselin and Forster would pick up misconducts on the play as the benches started to get short, and the Bulldogs were missing some impact players. Once the hockey resumed, play went back and forth until the Dogs took the lead with 6:34 to play on the rush as Troy Dobbs made a defensive play in front of his net to knock a pass away before Zak Bowles picked it up and raced away on a 2 on 1 rush with Dylan Haugen. Bowles would put a perfect pass onto the tape of Haugen streaking down the left wing where he cut in alone and ripped one off the bar and in top corner glove side on Stiliadis to make it 3-2 Dogs. The Dogs did a pretty good job of protecting the lead until the late stages, but the Grizzlies would find the equalizer on a broken play as Meirs Moore put the puck on net from a sharp angle on the left half wall. Christopolous would make the save, but the rebound went right onto the tape of Nathan Looysen wide open all alone on the doorstep where he fired it into the open side to make it 3-3 at 18:33 of the third with Spencer Hunter also drawing an assist on the play to force sudden death overtime.
The first OT would settle nothing, with not much in the way of chances either way. As three-on-three OT began, the Bulldogs ended it quickly as Zak Bowles won a draw in the offensive zone back to Darian Henry, who got a shot through on net from the left point. Bowles would deflect it, and Stiliadis made the first stop, but he couldn't control the rebound as Josh Adkins found it and fired it home for the 4-3 win as the Dogs raced off the bench to celebrate.
Final shots favoured the Dogs 38-33, including 5-0 in overtime. Billy Christopolous picked up the win, while Michael Stiliadis took the loss. The Dogs went 1 for 3 on the powerplay while the Grizzles went 1 for 2.
The teams meet in a rematch tomorrow night at the Dog Pound.