A fantastic start to the game for the Bulldogs, as they had a great chance inside the first 15 seconds off the opening puck drop as Mitch Makin drove the net and one-timed a rebound on net only to have Brett Magnus make a fantastic save kicking out his right pad to rob Makin in tight as the Kings were forced to ice it. Then an atrocious start by the Linesman would affect the game. The Kings would ice it off the ensuing puck drop as well, as they cleared to centre ice and the Bulldogs dumped it in and changed after completing a D-to-D pass. The Kings would one-time rim the dump in all the way down the ice up the boards on the far-side of the ice as the Bulldogs changed defencemen. Troy Dobbs probably wasn't within 15 feet of the puck, yet the Linesman would for some inexplicable reason wave off the icing. The Dogs would no doubt expect an icing, and a D-to-D pass hit a seam in the boards and slide right in front of their own net where Jacob Pritchard one-timed it home past a completely stunned Billy Christopoulos to make it 1-0 exactly one minute into the game. The Bulldogs would protest the terribly blown call, to no avail.
Here's Alex Rawnsley with the call, if you would rather see it for yourself than take my word for it!
Big credit to the Dogs as they forgot about getting jobbed, and less than a minute later tied it up at 1-1 as Garrett Halls head-manned it up the right wing for Josh Adkins. He would in turn send Dylan Haugen down the right wing where he beat the Kings defence wide and cut across the crease and wrist it high past the blocker of Brett Magnus to make it 1-1 at 1:47 of the first. The Dogs would keep up the pressure, generating good zone time and with that a handful of solid chances in the Kings zone, but Magnus stood tall to keep it 1-1, his notable save being off a wide-open Scottie Clark in the deep slot where he snared it with his glove. The Kings would push back and earn a power play in the back-half of the first and they made good on it just 13 seconds into the power play as a puck was thrown on net off the left wing wall. Christopoulos would make the first couple of saves, but didn't get enough help from his defence to either clear the puck or push back the Kings contacting him in his crease as Nick Halagian would poke it home. Assists on the play went to JJ Coleshaw and Johnny Evans at 12:47 of the first. The Kings would take a 3-1 lead late in the frame as Jarid Lukosevicius used good speed down the right wing to walk deep into the circle and throw one on net from a sharp angle. Christopoulos would keep it out, but Kurt Keats, again standing in the crease, banged it home at 18:56 of the first. Off the ensuing draw the Dogs would again do a poor job reacting to the Kings speed, as Christopoulos made a good save on a Jonny Evans breakaway before Evans again carried forward and contacted the Bulldogs goalie. Christopoulos had obviously had enough at this point, as he responded in frustration with a slash over the Kings forward's legs. The Kings were by no means going into the goalie maliciously, but just subtly and hard to the net. Christopoulos' reaction to it told me all I needed to know, as he hasn't lashed out at an opposition player like that on more than one or two occasions all season - one of those two was also in Powell River when he was bumped by Kurt Keats after a goal on Remembrance Day. Shots favoured the Bulldogs over the period 17-13.
The Kings would carry the better of the play early in the second, going up 4-1 just inside of five minutes in when Jacob Pritchard sniped one top corner past the ear of Christopoulos from the bottom of the left circle. JJ Coleshaw picked up the only assist on it at 4:42 of the second. The Bulldogs however would respond just 24 second later when Drew Blackmun knocked down a Drake Brown outlet pass at centre ice and skated up the left wing on a 2 on 1 break. Blackmun would fire a low shot on goal that Magnus stopped, but he kicked a rebound to the slot right onto the tape of Marcus Russell who fired it home high blocker-side to make it 4-2 at 5:06 of the second. The Bulldogs would be motivated after the goal, and started to carry the play and hem the Kings in their zone, led by a great shift by Therrien-Marreck and Dhaliwal to get the pressure going. The Dogs would have a fantastic chance to make it a one-goal game when Drew Weich put a shot on net from the right point that was deflected by Mitch Makin. Magnus made the save, and then dove in desperation and extended his hands to rob Makin on the rebound to keep it 4-2. Just two minutes later it was a 5-2 Kings lead as they scored on the rush when Stephen Hiff drove the net un-checked where he tapped in a backdoor pass. Assists on the play went to Adam Tracy and Liam Lawson at 10:51 of the second. The Dogs would fail to capitalize on their first power play chance of the game after a nasty hit saw Marcus Russell go in head-first at centre ice, and it would seem to suck the life out of them. The Kings built their lead to 6-2 again on an odd-man rush just two minutes later as the Dogs defence backed all the way in tight allowing Jacob Pritchard to walk right into the hash marks where he snapped it top corner far-side past the blocker of Christopoulos, with JJ Coleshaw picking up the only assist at 15:50 of the second for a 6-2 Kings lead after two, with the shots in the period favouring the Kings 13-12 for a two-period total of 13-12 for a two period advantage of 29-26 Bulldogs.
The third period was rather flat for the most part, with neither team doing much to push the opposition and carry the game. It stayed 6-2 until the back half of the third when the Dogs failed to capitalize on the power play, moving the puck around well but failing to get a shot on net. As the penalty elapsed JJ Coleshaw blocked a shot and sprung Brent Lashuk out of the box behind the Dogs defence in on a breakaway where he snapped it through the legs of Nathan Warren - who started the third period - to make it 7-2 with 6:02 to play. The Kings would rub some salt in the wound and complete the scoring with less than 20 seconds to play as Adam Tracey out-waited an un-supported Nathan Warren and got him down before tucking it into the near side for an 8-2 final with Liam Lawson assisting at 19:42 for the 8-2 final.
Shots favoured the Kings 37-33 with Billy Christopoulos giving up six goals on twenty six shots to take the loss over 40 minutes of action while Brent Magnus picked up the win. The Dogs went 0 for 2 on the power play while Powell River went 1 for 2.
The teams meet again tomorrow in a mean-nothing game, when it comes to the standings picture as a Kings win and a Grizzlies win means the Dogs finish in 4th place while the Kings finish in 3rd behind the Division leading Clippers and the Grizzlies who will finish 2nd.