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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dogs win streak stopped at four, Spruce Kings pick up 5-4 win

It was once again a great start to the game for the Bulldogs, as they almost scored on the opening shift. They would draw a penalty shortly afterwards after a great hit by Garrett Halls resulted in a Spruce Kings retaliation. The Dogs came close again on the power play with a delayed penalty coming but they couldn't connect. They had several good looks on the short 5 on 3 and ensuing power play, but the Spruce Kings did a good job to block shots to keep it scoreless despite the Dogs running up an early 5-0 lead in shots. Prince George would get a power play opportunity of their own shortly afterwards, and they looked everything like the 3rd ranked power play in the league as they worked the puck around the Dogs zone for a full two minutes. Billy Christopolous would make a ridiculous save on a backdoor one-timer chance for Chad Staley but the Dogs couldn't get the puck out as the Spruce Kings continued to work it around. A split-second after the power play elapsed they would find the net to make it 1-0 on a beautiful set up to the slot that was finished off by Chad Staley with top corner, blocker-side shot. Assists on the play went to Jake Lebrun and Jeremiah Luedtke at the 8:40 mark of the first. The Dogs would get the equalizer with just over five minutes to play in the period when Brett Stewart carried the puck out of his own zone and through centre into Prince George territory before dishing off to Evan Tironese. He would get the puck behind the goal line for Scott Clark who won a battle and centered it to Chris Schutz who fired a quick wrister far-side past the blocker of Alex Brooks-Potts to make it 1-1 at the 14:47 mark of the first. The Spruce Kings would have back-to-back power plays to end the period looking to take the lead back, but the Dogs penalty killers came up big to keep it tied. Shots favoured the Dogs 11-10 after one.

The Spruce Kings would take the lead back again for the second time in the game on another power play early in the second as Chad Staley threw a cross-crease pass that hit Jake LeBrun and went in past Christopolous. Adam Clements also drew a helper on the play at 2:58 of the second. The Dogs would answer back five minutes later to tie it up at 2-2 when Scott Clark just plain threw the puck on net from the left wing boards at a sharp angle and it bounced off the skates of Brooks-Potts and in. Assists went to Chris Schutz and Brett Stewart at 7:12. The Dogs couldn't build on the momentum though as the Spruce Kings took the lead back for the third time on the rush as Cooper Leitch drove the net and found a loose puck on a net drive by Marco Ballarin that he slid into the open side. Rider Stoglin also drew an assist on the play at the 11:29 mark. The Dogs would get a great chance to try and find the equalizer late in the period when they were awarded a two-man advantage for just under two minutes in duration but they couldn't connect as the buzzer sounded to end the period. Darian Henry would be penalized at the buzzer, resulting in a 4 on 3 advantage for 35 seconds to start the third period. Shots in the period favoured Prince George 14-11 for a two period advantage for the Spruce Kings of 24-22.  

The Bulldogs would fail to score on the short 4 on 3 power play to open the third, but they got the equalizer just seconds later while down two men as both Spruce Kings exited the box but couldn't get into the zone in time as Brett Stewart ripped one home top corner, short-side bar down past the glove of Brooks-Potts from the left face off dot. Evan Tironese and Josh Adkins picked up the assists :43 seconds into the third. What could have been a big turning point and momentum swing was snuffed out less than a minute later as the Spruce Kings took the lead right back on the power play after consecutive huge saves by Christopolous as Jeremiah Luedtke jammed a rebound home to make it 4-3 at the 1:37 mark with the assists going to Justin Rai and Chad Staley. They would control the play and push for the insurance marker and eventually got it when Brent Lashuk converted a cross-ice one-timer just squeezing it past the left toe of Christopolous to make it 5-3 with Taylor Allan drawing the only assist at 8:28 of the third. The Bulldogs would be again given a glorious chance to get back into it just over two minutes later as they went to a 5 on 3 power play as Zak Bowles was drilled from behind with the Dogs already on the power play. They would convert on the advantage on a net mouth scramble with Chris Schutz getting credit for his second of the game to make it 5-4 with Mitch Makin and Brett Stewart picking up the assists at the 10:07 mark of the third. The Bulldogs would have their opportunities the rest of the way to get the equalizer, but the Spruce Kings also did a very good job at the end of a long road trip to win battles and hem the Dogs in their end to kill the clock. The best chance might have been when Dylan Haugen walked into the high slot with just under 30 seconds to play where he drove a slap shot on net that Brooks-Potts made a great save on turning the puck up and out of play as the Kings killed the remaining 22 seconds to take the win.

Shots favoured the Dogs 43-36 with Billy Christopolous taking the loss while Alex Brooks-Potts picked up the win. The Dogs went 1 for 8 on the power play, while also scoring once shorthanded. The Spruce Kings went 2 for 7.

With the loss, the Dogs win streak is stopped at four. They are next in action Friday at home against the Cowichan Valley Capitals.


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