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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Clippers score four in four minutes, top Dogs 5-2.

A spirited affair from the get go in this one, with both teams coming out hitting in the first couple of shifts. It would be one hit too many however, as the Clippers were awarded a power play before the game was two minutes old. They would connect on it on a great set up that saw Jake Jackson walk in alone on goal right up the middle where he went top corner over the glove of Christopoulos on a pretty deke move to the backhand. Brendan Taylor and Yanni Kaldis picked up the assists at 1:45 of the first. The Clippers would pick up a four minute penalty shortly afterwards as Brett Stewart was cut on a high stick by Sheldon Rempal. The Dogs couldn't find the net on the first advantage or the second, but looked much better on the back half of the minor with five shots on goal and Guillaume Decelles coming up with big saves on Scottie Clark and Mitch Makin in tight. As the penalty ended Sheldon Rempal exited the penalty box and skated in on a breakaway. Drew Weich appeared from about 10 feet away to get a one-handed desperation slash on him, and a penalty shot was awarded. Rempal wouldn't be able to cash in on it, as he mishandled the puck and it rolled in on Christopoulos. The Clippers would pick up a minor penalty less than a minute later, and then a five minute major 40 seconds into the Dogs power play as Austin Dick was ejected for a blow to the head on Scottie Clark who gained the Clipper line up the right wing while being repeatedly slashed by Nick Carrier. Clark played one more shift then did not return to the game.  The Dogs would struggle on the 5 on 3 and the 5 minute major, with the Clippers getting the best chance on a breakaway after Drew Weich was caught with a stick in the face and dropped in the Nanaimo end.  Weich would not return to the game. The Dogs would pick up another power play chance later in the period and they finally connected on it when Josh Adkins worked the puck out of the right corner to Garrett Halls on the right wing boards. He would set up Brett Stewart in the deep slot where he ripped a perfect top corner wrister over the glove hand of Decelles and right under the bar to make it 1-1 at 15:27 of the first. The Clippers would go to a 5 on 3 of their own just minutes later, with the Dogs doing a great job of killing it off to keep it 1-1. As they killed it, it appeared that the Dogs were gone on a shorthanded 2 on 1 or breakaway when Tyler Povelofskie exited the box behind the play. Dylan Haugen would be hauled down while attempting a breakaway feed, which forced the pass off the mark. Much to the dismay of the Bulldog crowd, Haugen would also be given a penalty for diving as the Clippers remained on the power play into the second. The Dogs out shot the Clippers 14-9 after 20 minutes.

The second period saw the Clippers begin on the power play, but the Dogs again killed it to keep it 1-1. The Dogs had their share of chances as the period wore on, and all of sudden the whistles went away and teams played 5 on 5 for the first time in the game, or so it felt. The Dogs controlled the play, and took their first lead when Tyler Povelofskie threw a big hit on the fore check and kicked the puck out front. He would then chase it down and centre for Mitch Makin, who one-timed it past the blocker of Decelles to make it 2-1 Dogs at 9:08 of the second. The Dogs would keep up the pressure over the next several minutes and have several great chances both off the rush and off draws in the Nanaimo end. One that stands out saw Chris Schutz get hauled down while chasing a loose puck right in the slot. From his knees, he still put a good shot on net in alone in tight, that was stopped by Decelles. Mitch Makin would have a rebound bid that looked like it was headed into the top corner, only to have it hit a Clipper stick and go out of play. On the next shift the Clippers drew a penalty on a neutral ice infraction. While on the powerplay they would draw another penalty resulting in their second consecutive 5 on 3 chance. This would entirely change the complexion of the game, as the Clippers first tied it at 2-2 on a pretty cross-crease set up by Cole Maier who set up Jake Jackson for his second of the game. Brendan Taylor also picked up an assist at 14:20 of the second. Just 26 seconds later another power play goal saw the Clippers go from trailing to leading 3-2 as a Ryan Coghlan shot from the right point hit a traffic jam at the crease and went off Devin Brosseau top corner past Christopoulos. Nick Gushue also drew an assist on the play at 14:46 of the second. That would take all the energy out of the building and the momentum from the Bulldogs, as the Clippers would immediately carry the play as the Dogs didn't react to the situation well, although it's hard to blame them. Another penalty would go to the Dogs late in the period, but an even up call came against the Clippers just 8 seconds later. It wouldn't help the Dogs though, as the Clippers scored twice in 17 seconds to blow it open and take a 5-2 lead. First it was Sheldon Rempal winning a battle in front to flip one over Christopoulos who couldn't clear the rebound with a poke check. Devin Brosseau picked up the only assist at 18:18. Brendan Taylor would complete the onslaught 17 seconds later as Jake Jackson drove the puck behind the goal and put a perfect pass out front on the doorstep where Taylor one-timed it home top corner, short-side at 18:35, with Jordan Low also drawing an assist. The Dogs out shot the Clippers 18-16 in the period for a two period advantage of 32-25. Very very tough to watch what transpired from the Bulldogs side of the puck, as they were full value for the 2-1 lead and were pushing hard for more, only to see the Officiating rear it's ugly head and completely change the game. Full credit to the Clippers for seizing the advantage, even if they didn't earn it and more so had it handed to them. Don't put yourself in a position to take penalties, they say.

The third period saw the Clippers push hard with a couple good chances early to try and build the lead, but Christopoulos stood tall to keep the game close. The Clippers would be awarded a power play short of the midway mark of the period, but it was four-on-four pretty quick as the Clippers were whistled. It would then be a 4 on 3 power play for the Clippers when the Bulldogs where once again whistled for a minor. That would be it for the excitement through the third period, as neither team found the net through a rather flat period of hockey. While the Dogs didn't quit, they couldn't beat Decelles to make a game of it again.

Final shots favoured the Bulldogs 49-37 with Billy Christopoulos taking the loss while Guillaume Decelles picked up the win. I had the Bulldogs at 1 for 8 on the power play while the Clippers went 3 for 9 while also scoring once shorthanded.

The Dogs are next in action Tuesday night in Victoria.


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