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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dogs gut one out, 4-2 in West Kelowna to finish trip

The Bulldogs looked like an inspired bunch from the word GO in this one, as they carried the play and showed great effort and desperation in running up an 8-0 lead in shots and having several solid chances that Andy Desautels turned aside in the Warriors net. Just one bad turnover later, and it was all of a sudden a 1-0 Warriors lead on their first shot of the game as Jonathan Desbiens stole the puck just inside the Bulldogs line and made a perfect cross-ice pass to an open Brayden Gelsinger racing down the left wing where he one-timed it into the open side before Christopoulos could get over. It must have been a very tough goal to take for the Bulldogs, but to their credit they didn't let it deflate them as they kept their foot on the gas and continued to be the better team in winning the races and the battles. They drew a penalty just past the midway mark of the frame, and while they couldn't score on it they kept up the momentum and had some very good looks. The Warriors couldn't get the puck out when the penalty elapsed as the Dogs kept up the pressure and it ended up in a 1-1 game as Taylor Derynck put the puck down the right wing and behind the net where Scottie Clark made a great effort to lunge and get a stick on the puck before putting a pass onto the tape of Chris Schutz at the lip of the crease where he one-timed it through Desautels at 11:52 of the first. The Dogs would take their first lead of the game in the late stages of the first when the Warriors won a draw in the Dogs end back to the point. Josh Adkins would fight through his check to block the shot, and it caromed off him and through centre ice where Dylan Haugen showed great speed to chase it down and skate in on a breakaway where he managed to just squeak it over the line and through Desautels, with the Linesman deserving a lot of credit for catching up with the play to make the call. Josh Adkins didn't get credit for an assist, but he will on a scoring change at 17:31 of the first for a 2-1 Dogs lead after one, and a 16-5 Dogs lead in shots.

The Bulldogs would take a penalty in the early parts of the second period, and the Warriors capitalized on it to tie the game at 2-2 on a mad scramble that saw Christopoulos make several saves but never be able to regain his footing as a wrap around by Andrew Johnson was banked off of his skate and in. Assists on the play went to Jordan Masters and Liam Blackburn at 5:15 of the second. The Bulldogs would continue to play good hockey throughout the midway point of the frame, getting pucks on net and playing good team defence in supporting Christopoulos. The Dogs drew a penalty in the late stages of the period, and after the first minute didn't yield much, the last minute saw them settle things down and get some good chances from the line leading to a goal in the dying seconds of the man advantage as Brett Stewart found Drew Weich at the left point where he put a high and hard one on net that hit the shin pad of Tyler Povelofskie and went in top corner over the glove of Desautels for a 3-2 lead at 15:53 of the second. The Dogs would out shoot the Warriors 13-3 over the period - I thought the Warriors got more on net than that - for a 40 minute advantage of 29-8.

The Dogs continued to play inspired hockey to begin the third period, but it remained a one goal game through the midway point. A big Bulldog penalty kill was completed thanks to a fantastic backdoor deflection save by Billy Christopoulos on Kristian Blumenschein to keep it 3-2. The Bulldogs would get right back on the attack and after a long attacking shift in the Warriors zone they were able to get the insurance marker when Eric Margo worked the puck back to the right point for Drew Weich, who put a high hard wrister on goal that was stopped by Desautels. He couldn't control the rebound though, and Chris Schutz was right on the doorstep to jam it home for his second of the night and 20th of the season to make it 4-2 Dogs at 10:44 with Weich and Blackmun picking up the assists. The Dogs didn't sag over the remainder of the game and came up with one more big penalty kill with six minutes to play to protect the lead until the late stages. The Warriors would pull their goalie with two minutes remaining for the extra attacker but the Dogs defended well in their zone and did a fantastic job of freezing the puck on the boards and winning long battles to not lose possession as time ticked away.

Final shots favoured the Dogs 36-19 with Billy Christopoulos picking up the win while Andy Desautels took the loss. The Dogs went 1 for 2 on the power play while the Warriors went 1 for 4.

The Dogs next see action Friday in Duncan when they kick off a Home-and-Home set with the Capitals.


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