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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dogs win second straight, 5-3 over Smoke Eaters, Atom/Peewee Dogs tourney continues

A fast start to this contest for the Dogs as they were inspired and carried the play in the early minutes running up an early 5-1 advantage in shots. They would take a 1-0 lead off a face off in their end that was actually won back to the line by the Smoke Eaters. A point shot was blocked by Chris Shutz, who put a perfect pass onto the tape of Scott Clark who flew the zone and snuck behind the Smokies defence. Clark would beat Adam Todd with a beautiful shot and a quick release, top corner glove side on Todd to make it 1-0 at the 6:47 mark of the first. The Dogs had a glorious chance off the ensuing draw to go up 2-0 on a partial break for Zak Bowles, but he just missed the net. The Smoke Eaters would get on the board to tie it at 1-1 on another faceoff in the Dogs end, this time retrieved out of the right corner and thrown to the top of the crease to a wide open Scott Davidson. Billy Christopolous would make the first save, but Davidson found his own rebound and poked it home before any help arrived. Assists on the play went to Charlie Zuccarini and Bryan Basilico at 9:20 of the first. The goal appeared to inspire the Smokies, as they pushed hard and had several good chances before finding the net to take a 2-1 lead as Jeremy Lucchini put a perfect pass to the side of the net to a wide open Bryan Basilico for a 2 on 1 down low. Darian Henry would make a great play to go down to one knee to block Basilico's attempted cross-crease pass, but the puck would end up right back onto the tape of Basilico who fired it into the open side. The only assist on the play went to Scott Davidson at 13:05 of the first. The Dogs would draw a penalty a minute later, but the first minute and change of the power play sputtered and struggled to gain the Smoke Eaters zone. They would stick with it and simplify it, and were rewarded with the game tying goal before the power play was out with a lucky bounce of their own as Zach Funk dug the puck loose and put it back to the left point to Garrett Halls. He would go cross-ice onto the tape of Troy Dobbs, who put a wrist shot at the net that was deflected by Josh Adkins off a Smoke Eater and in for a 2-2 tie at 16:17 of the first. Shots favoured the Smoke Eaters 14-12 through 20 minutes. 

The Bulldogs came out with a considerable jump in their step to start the second, as they were winning all the races to the pucks and all the battles, hemming the Smoke Eaters in their zone for extended periods. There would be no scoring through the first half of the period, but the Bulldogs persisted and were rewarded for it as Darian Henry skated the puck out from behind the Dogs net and carried it through centre ice before dishing off to Everett Putz over the Smokies line. Henry would drive the slot and take a return pass from Putz that he fired past the blocker of Todd to make it 3-2 Dogs at 13:57 of the second. The Smoke Eaters would be awarded a power play after an after-the-whistle skirmish, but a solid Dogs penalty kill protected the lead. They would find the net once more before the period was out when Evan Tironese made a nifty pass to send Mitch Makin to the net, where he cut to his backhand only to have Adam Todd make a great save with his left toe to keep it out. He couldn't control the rebound though, as Chris Schutz drove the net and tapped it over the line to make it 4-2 Dogs at 19:08 of the second. The Dogs led the shots 25-20 after two periods, out shooting the Smokies 13-6 through the frame.

The third period in the early minutes resembled the second, as the Dogs carried the bulk of the play and didn't give up much in the way of chances as they carried the two goal lead past the midway mark of the period. They continued to control the play, but much like the night before all it took was one let down and the Smokies made them pay and all of a sudden made it a one-goal game with 4:49 to play as Christopolous made two saves but couldn't get any help as Charlie Zuccarini poked the rebound home at the side of the net to make it 4-3 with 4:49 to play with assists going to Viktor Dombrovskiy and and Griffyn Martin. The Smokies would go to a power play just seconds after the ensuing puck drop at centre, but the Dogs did a fantastic job against the leagues #1 power play unit, not giving up much in the way of chances and getting the puck out when the opportunity presented itself. Right after the kill, it was game over as Eric Margo made a great read to pick the puck off in the Smokies zone and throw a shot on net that was stopped by Todd, but the rebound went right onto the tape of Evan Tironese who tapped it over the line for a 5-3 lead with 2:27 to play for the final score.

Shots favoured the Dogs 38-30, with Billy Christopolous picking up the win and second star honours for the second night in a row while Adam Todd took the loss. The Dogs went 1 for 4 on the power play while the Smoke Eaters went 0 for 5.

The Dogs are next in action Friday at home when they kick off a home and home set with the Capitals and a three in three weekend as the Spruce Kings visit the Dog Pound next Sunday.

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend, and don't forget the Atom and Peewee Bulldogs continue to host their tournaments tomorrow and Monday at the Multiplex with the Atoms playing at 12:45 and the Peewees playing at 9:15. I'm thankful for family, friends, fans, great hockey and a couple of wins...and my first day off since September!


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