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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dogs fall 8-3 to Grizzlies, streak snapped at three

A lightning quick start to the game for the Bulldogs as they took a 1-0 lead just over two minutes into the game on a good fore check by Eric Therrien and then  Justin Marreck to steal the puck and keep it in the zone. Eric Margo would play the puck on a rim back to the left point for Garrett Halls, who one-timed it back down the boards behind the net for Justin Marreck who put a perfect pass out front for Marcus Russell who one-timed it past Sean Cleary at 2:21 of the first. The lead didn't last for long though, as the Bulldogs took a penalty on the next shift and the Grizzlies went to the power play. The Dogs would kill the penalty off, but before the player could get back into the play it was a 1-1 game as Jake Emilio put a low shot at the net that was deftly deflected top corner, short-side high over the glove of Nathan Warren by Sean McBride from just outside the hash marks. Thomas Gobeil also drew an assist on the play at 4:54 of the first. Just a minute and change later it was a 2-1 Dogs lead when they connected on the power play when Drew Weich threw a puck at the net that was deflected by Chris Schutz off a Grizzlies defender. Mitch Makin would reel the puck in behind the net and score on a wrap around banker off a Grizzlies defender and in past Cleary at 6:06 of the first. Again the lead didn't last long as just a minute and change later it was 2-2 when the Dogs gave up a 2 on 1 with only a forward back playing defence. The Grizzlies would connect on it on a cross-ice pass from Matt Kennedy that was tapped into the open side by Dane Gibson. Chris Harpur also picked up an assist at 7:22 of the first. The Grizzlies took the lead for the first time in the game five minutes later when Thomas Gobeil walked into the deep slot and blew a slapper from the top of the left circle through the legs of Warren to make it 3-2. The goal was un-assisted at 12:10 of the first, as Warren was replaced in favour of Billy Christopoulos. He would receive a rude welcome, as just a minute and change later it was 4-2 Grizzlies on a beautiful cross-ice set up on the power play put home top corner, short-side before Christopoulos could get over by Kevin Massy, with assists to Matt Kennedy and Dane Gibson at 13:36 of the first for a 4-2 lead after one and an 11-7 edge in shots for the Grizzlies.  

The second period saw some fireworks early when Nick Guiney tried to duck under a Garrett Halls hit at centre ice and ended up taking the worst of it. Halls would be immediately challenged by Ayden MacDonald who was seeking retribution for the hit. There would be no instigator to MacDonald, and Halls would get the book as well for defending himself as it remained 5-on-5. What was somewhat odd was the Referee going directly to the Grizzlies bench to talk with their Coaching staff at immediate conclusion of the incident, before then going to the Officials circle where he would talk over the situation with the Linesman. The Bulldogs weren't able to change the tide as despite their efforts around the Victoria net they couldn't get much through on Cleary. On a promising looking offensive sequence in the zone they would again get caught up ice and concede a 2 on 1 that turned into a 3 on 2 that the Grizzlies scored a pretty pretty goal on as Dane Gibson took a drop pass from Brett Gruber and then put it cross-ice for Matt Kennedy who tapped it into the open side at 6:29 of the second. It was a 6-2 game just past the midway mark of the period on a very tough luck goal as Eric Margo chipped the puck in down the right wing into the Grizzlies zone. Or so he thought. It would instead be stopped the Linesman and went right onto the stick of Brett Gruber who walked through centre and over the Bulldogs line down the right wing where he snapped one past the blocker of Christopoulos. Meirs Moore picked up the only assist on the goal at 10:52 of the second. The Bulldogs would dig in their heels and get things going in the right direction just two minutes later  with a couple good hard working shifts resulting in a power play. They would cash in on the advantage quickly as Troy Dobbs fought the puck to the right point for Taylor Derynck who wristed one top corner, short-side over the glove of Cleary, who didn't appear to see it with Tyler Povelofskie screening in front. Eric Therrien also drew an assist on the place at 12:50 of the second to make it 6-3. The Dogs would have a great chance in the final minute to make it a two-goal game on a shorthanded 2 on 1 rush, but Justin Marreck's shot just missed the open side. The Grizzlies would then connect with just .2 seconds left on the clock to take a 7-3 lead when Thomas Gobeil put a high hard one on net that was stopped by Christopoulos. He couldn't find the rebound though, as Jay Mackie scored into the open side. Sean McBride also drew an assist at 19:59 of the second. The Grizzlies out shot the Dogs 12-9 for a two period total of 23-16 Grizzlies.

The third period didn't see much either way of sustained attack as with a dead atmosphere and a lopsided score it wasn't the best hockey to watch. The Grizzlies would go up 8-3 with just under eight minutes to play on a really odd goal as the Grizzlies appeared to clearly score on a nice backdoor pass against the grain and a stuff-in attempt, but none of the three Officials appeared to have a clue as to what had happened. The Grizzlies would argue their case once Christopoulos couldn't locate the puck. Once the net taken off its moorings, the puck was found underneath the padding. The Officials would conference and allow a goal to the Grizzlies, with Brett Gruber getting credit for it, with assists going to Kevin Massy and Dane Gibson at the 12:28 mark of the third for the eventual 8-3 final score.

Final shots favoured the Grizzlies 32-28 with Nathan Warren giving up the first three on five shots and Billy Christopoulos getting tagged with the loss allowing five in relief  on 27 shots while Sean Cleary picked up the win. The Dogs went 2 for 7 on the power play while the Grizzlies went 3 for 5.

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