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Saturday, November 01, 2014

Dogs fall to Grizzlies in crazy finish

A blazing fast paced start to this game, with each team getting their fair share of chances early as both Billy Christopolous and Michael Stiliadis were tested in the opening minutes. Just five minutes into the game, each team had five shots a piece. The Bulldogs would earn the first power play of the game, but despite good puck movement, the Grizzlies did a good job to block shots as nothing got through to Stiliadis. A rare scrap erupted between Zak Bowles and Storm Wahlrab, and that seemed to pick up the emotions of the game as both teams started to go out of their way to finish their checks. The Grizzlies would open the scoring late in the period with a quick pass from behind the net by Dane Gibson being jammed into the open side from Matt Kennedy who was standing in the crease. Jay Mackie also picked up an assist on the play at the 15:38 of the first. The Dogs had a great chance to even it up with just seconds left in the period when Mitch Makin drove the net and cut across the crease, but he couldn't lift it over Stiliadis as the Grizzlies took a 1-0 lead to the room after the first, with the Dogs leading the shots 14-12.

The Bulldogs began the second period on the penalty kill, and an effective two minutes saw them kill it off and give up just a single shot to start the period off on the right skate. They would even the game up shortly afterwards when  a turnover up the middle in the Victoria zone was found by Mitch Makin, who walked across the slot and put a backhand top corner, far side over the glove of Stiliadis for the unassisted marker and a 1-1 tie at 4:32 of the second. The score would remain that way into period three, with each team again having their chances around the net but both goalies standing tall. The Dogs had their chances on the rush, but couldn't get a bounce around the net. The closest they came was when Evan Tironese walked in down the left wing and ripped a shot off the cross-bar that stayed out. With less than five minutes to play in the period an ugly incident saw Evan Tironese targeted behind the play by Cody Van Leirop. I didn't see the play, and the camera didn't catch it either, as it was so far away from the puck. One of the Linesman did see it however, as Van Lierop was given a five minute major for slashing as Tironese left the game. The Bulldogs failed to capitalize on the advantage, before taking a penalty of their own with a minute and change to go in the power play as the period ended in a 1-1 tie with the Dogs leading the shots in the period 11-9 for a two period advantage of 25-21.

The third period began with four-on-four hockey as a result of the Major Penalty carrying over. Neither team would find the net as the hockey was played tight to the vest. Victoria took their second lead of the game just over eight minutes into the period on a funny play as an attempted D-to-D pass ended up hitting a discarded stick as the Grizzlies got possession back. It would end up in a 2-1 lead as a puck bounced off several arms before Cole Pickup gloved it down in the slot and fired it home over the glove of Christopolous to make it 2-1, unassisted at 8:12 of the third. The Grizzlies would do a good job to limit the Dogs chances for the most of the remainder of regulation, and were also helped with back-to-back power play opportunities in the last six minutes of the game. The Bulldogs would tie the game, while shorthanded with just 2:14 to play as Darian Henry picked off a pass and centre and raced over the Victoria line where he blew a slap shot through the seven hole on Stiliadis. It would spin like a top and JUST cross the line, or so it appeared from the Broadcast Booth. None of the three Officials were in any position to make the call, but they would allow a goal after a talk amongst themselves and a discussion with the Goal Judge to make it a 2-2 game. It was the first shorthanded goal the Grizzlies have conceded this season. It wasn't tied for long though, as the Grizzlies scored on the remaining power play time as Dane Gibson threw the puck at the net where it was deflected home by Matt Kennedy from the top of the crease with 1:18 to play to make it 3-2. The Dogs would pull their goalie after calling time out to try for the equalizer, but the last man back misplayed the puck and the Grizzlies scored an empty netter tap in, with Mitch Barker getting credit for the 4-2 goal, with the assist going to Ayden MacDonald at 19:18 of the third. Kevin Massy would score another empty netter on a banker from the Grizzlies zone with 12 seconds left for the 5-2 Final score.

Final shots favoured the Grizzlies 33-31, with Michael Stiliadis picking up 1st star honours with the win in net, while Billy Christopolous took the loss while earning 2nd star honours. The Dogs went 0 for 3 on the power play, while also scoring once shorthanded. The Grizzlies went 1 for 4.

Not a lot of time for the Dogs to dwell on this one (although an extra hour, don't forget to set those clocks back) as the Dogs are in Duncan tomorrow to face the Capitals for a 2pm puck drop.



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