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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dogs fight hard, fall 4-2 to Vees

Over the first couple of shifts the Vees forced the issue and the Dogs seemed a step behind, with Billy Christopoulos coming up with a couple of solid saves to keep it scoreless. Eric Margo would get taken down at centre ice shortly afterwards to earn a power play chance. The Dogs would move the puck around well, but failed to get much in the way of pucks on net. A later power play would see the Dogs do a better job of getting pucks to the net but again couldn't get a bounce to beat Hunter Miska as Mike Lee made a great shot block before then clearing a loose puck off the goal line to keep it scoreless. As the period wore on, the Vees continued to do a great job of blocking shots, as it stayed 0-0 until the latter stages of the period when Eric Therrien got caught for getting his stick up on a Vee on the back check resulting in a four minute penalty. The Vees would score with 30 seconds to go in the first minor, just seconds after a highlight reel save by Christopoulos on Tyson Jost on a cross-crease pass as the Bulldogs were down to 3 and a half men with a defenceman being without a stick. It went from bad to worse seconds later when that same defenceman inadvertenly slid into Christopoulos and knocked his stick out of his hands. The Vees would drive the net and slide one home five-hole, with Jack Ramsey getting credit for it, with Tyson Jost picking up the only assist at 17:57 of the first. Just a minute later the Bulldogs would be penalized again, on what I thought was a pretty soft call as Troy Dobbs got whistled for cross-checking while trying to push a Vee out of the goal crease. The Vees would make quick work on the two-man advantage, with Gabe Bast scoring on a one-time blast from the deep slot high past the blocker arm of Christopoulos, with assists going to Tyson Jost and Patrick Newell with just over two seconds left in the first to make it 2-0. The Vees out shot the Dogs 18-2 in the first.

The Bulldogs would kill off the remainder of the penalty to start the second, and then immediately get on the offense as Chris Schutz made a great play at the offensive blue line to chip the puck through the legs of a stepping-up Vees defender to put it on the tape of Scottie Clark. He would walk over the Vees line up the right wing with speed before throwing a puck to the slot that deflected off of Mitch Makin and in at 2:08 of the second to make it 2-1. Just under two minutes later it was a 2-2 tie as Eric Margo made a great effort to get a stick on an outlet pass in the zone on the forecheck to keep the puck in Penticton territory. Drew Blackmun would follow that up with a hard hit behind the Vees net on the fore-check to steal the puck and centre it to Eric Margo. His shot would be stopped, but Marcus Russell found the loose puck on the far side of the net where he fired it home before Miska could get over to make it 2-2 at 4:02 of the second. Later in the period the Vees would push hard and hem the Dogs in their end and earned several good chances, but they couldn't beat Christopoulos. The Dogs would push back immediately on the transition as Josh Adkins and Dylan Haugen move the puck quickly before throwing it at the net where Everett Putz deflected it on net, only to be robbed by the left toe of Miska. Off the following faceoff another similar play as Putz deflect a cross-crease pass on net, with Miska again making a fantastic left-toe save to keep it 2-2. The Vees would have a great chance to take the lead shortly afterwards when Demico Hannoun chased down a Shayne Gwinner clear off the glass in the Vees zone to race in on a breakaway, but Christopoulos stood tall to make the save. The two would square off again just minutes later as a Bulldog forward came back and made a good defensive play just outside the blue line, only to turn the puck over just a second later as Hannoun skated in alone and went top corner, glove-side off the bar and in to make it 3-2 Vees, un-assisted at 14:45 of the second. Shots were even at 12-aside in the period, for a 30-14 Vees edge after two. 

The Bulldogs started with a good push to begin the third, but they couldn't get the equalizer before the Vees went ahead 4-2 just over five minutes in on the rush as the Dogs couldn't win a battle behind the Vees net for the puck. Mike Lee would find it and send Demico Hannoun up the right wing through centre. A Bulldog defender would fall down on the back check, resulting in an open lane for Patrick Newell who accepted the pass and walked in alone where he snapped it over the glove of Christopoulos to make it 4-2 at 5:22 of the third period. The Bulldogs would earn two power plays through the next five minutes, but they were unable to generate much to get back into the game against a solid Vees penalty kill. The Dogs would pull their goalie with just over four minutes to play in the third period in a valiant attempt to again make it a one goal game, coming painfully close as Garrett Halls ripped a shot from the deep slot that hit the cross-bar behind Miska but stayed out. There would be no scoring the rest of the way, mostly thanks to a desperation save by Mitch Makin in front of the Dogs net with the goalie pulled for the extra attacker with two minutes and change to go.

Final shots favoured the Vees 35-22 with Billy Christopoulos taking the loss while Hunter Miska picked up the win. The Dogs went 0 for 5 on the power play while the Vees went 2 for 5.

The Dogs road trip continues tomorrow afternoon in Merritt for a 2pm puck drop.


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