Saturday, January 10, 2015
Dogs drop third straight, 4-1 in Vernon in Royal Rumble
Neither team looked sharp in the opening minutes of the game, with players on each side mishandling the puck and passes failing to connect early as both teams tried to find their way. The Vipers would take a 1-0 lead before the game was five minutes old as Luke Shiplo made a nice move after accepting a D-to-D pass to make a Bulldog defender miss before walking into the top of the left circle where he put a wrister on goal that went past a screened Christopoulos. Riley Guenther and Liam Findlay picked up the assists on the play at the 4:43 mark of the first. The Bulldogs would answer just 20 seconds later to tie it up however as Josh Adkins took a pass from Brett Stewart and walked to the net down the right wing and in tight where he roofed one top corner, short-side high over the glove of Jarrod Schamerhorn to make it 1-1 at 5:03 with Everett Putz also drawing an assist. The Vipers would take the lead again just 12 seconds into a power play chance as Thomas Aldworth went cross-ice from the left circle to Liam Findlay. He would in turn set up Liam Coughlin right on the door step where he accepted the pass and scored on a quick spin move to pull it around Christopoulos to make it 2-1 at 7:46 of the first. The Vipers would take that lead to the room after 20 minutes, holding an 11-8 lead in shots on goal.
The second period saw the Bulldogs play a much more inspired game from the opening puck drop, generating a fair amount of chances and running up an early 6-0 lead in shots, although they couldn't beat Schamerhorn to tie the game. Into the midway point of the period, the Dogs had out shot the Vipers 9-1 and had carried the better of the play. The Vipers picked up the pace through the back half of the period, but Billy Christopoulos came up with two huge saves on cross-ice one-timers to keep it 2-1, the most notable being a pad stacker glove save on Mitch Meek with four minutes and change to play in the frame. Shortly afterwards the Bulldogs went to the power play when Riley Brandt ran Christopoulos and picked up an Interference on the Goalie penalty, but the Dogs couldn't connect as the Vipers kept the 2-1 lead into the third period, with the Dogs out-shooting the Vipers in the period 14-7 for a 40 minute advantage of 22-18.
The Dogs took an ill-advised penalty just seconds into the third period and it proved big as the Vipers again connected for their second power play goal of the contest as Christopoulos made a good save on a Luke Shiplo slapper from the deep slot, only to have the puck go off his pads and off the body of Liam Finlay and just over the line to make it 3-1 Vipers. Liam Coughlin also drew an assist on the play 1:14 into the third. On the next whistle, all hell would break loose after the play at the Viper net, with ejections resulting to Chris Schutz - who was given 5 for fighting and a double ejection, without ever dropping his gloves and stick - and Mitch Makin, who never had an opportunity to fight with Colton McCarthy lying on top of him and attemping to get a cheap one in on him and not letting him up despite the Referee and Linesman attempting to remove him. The Bulldogs would get the extra penalty out of all of it somehow, and the Vipers would connect on it on a 2 on 1 down low as Liam Coughlin set up TJ Dumonceaux with a cross-ice one-timer that he buried from the slot. Liam Finlay also drew an assist on the play at 2:52 of the third to make it 4-1. That would do it for the scoring, but not for the stupid stuff, as it continued throughout the third period on several instances. The Bulldogs would end up with a full two minute 5 on 3 power play, and a three minute power play after the final after the whistle WWE style Rodeo, but they couldn't connect as the power play was missing the likes of Makin and Schutz and didn't look crisp.
Final shots were even at 29 aside, with Billy Christopoulos taking the loss and Jarrod Schamerhorn picking up the win. The Vipers went 3 for 7 on the power play and the Bulldogs went 0 for 7, a huge difference in the game.
The Dogs conclude their trip tomorrow in West Kelowna for a 2:30 start time.