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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dogs win third straight, 5-3 over Caps, clinch Playoff Spot

The Bulldogs looked everything like a team that showed up just an hour before the game due to bus issues and didn't get much of their pregame routine in as they were somewhat out of sorts and fighting the puck in the early minutes. They took an early penalty but again killed it off with Billy Christopoulos continuing to play rock solid. Just 20 seconds later it was a 1-0 Bulldogs lead as Chris Schutz carried the puck over the Capitals line up the right wing where he put one on net that saw Lance Michasiw make the save but kick out a big rebound cross-ice. Eric Therrien would find the puck and put a low hard shot at the net that was deflected by Braden Fuller behind his back up and under the crossbar short-side to make it 1-0 at the 5:10 mark. Immediately after the goal, the Dogs took another penalty, but again killed it off. Later in the period with the Bulldogs on the attack in the Capitals end Tyler Povelofskie was hit head first from behind into the glass, but neither Referee raised their arm for a penalty. Just seconds later, the Dogs were whistled for a neutral-ice hooking minor. It would be going to the well one too many times as the Capitals struck just seconds into the power play as Rylan Bechtel put a shot on net from the slot that was stopped by Christopoulos. He couldn't control the rebound though, and Darien Craighead fired it into the open side to make it 1-1. Bechtel somehow didn't get an assist on the play, as they instead went to Kyle Horsman and Sean Harrison at 12:56 of the first. It took a grand total of 26 seconds for an even-up penalty call to come, but the Dogs couldn't capitalize on it as it stayed 1-1 after one with the Caps out shooting the Dogs 16-6.

The Bulldogs would again take a penalty early in the second - they would again kill it off, but they couldn't clear the puck. A bad giveaway would result off a poor clearing attempt, and the Caps would - pardon the pun - Capitalize on it, as Brodie Smith fought off a check in front of the Dogs net and quickly spun around and fired it through Christopoulos. Assists on the play went to Jake Switzer and Jesse Neher 3:52 into the second. Shortly after the goal the Bulldogs again took a penalty, but again came up with a big kill to keep it 2-1 Caps. Shortly afterwards they would make the Capitals pay for icing it after a fantastic attacking zone shift by the Therrien-Fuller-Schutz trio. With a tired group on the ice it took the Dogs just seconds to score to tie the game at 2-2 as Josh Adkins found the Everett Putz faceoff win and fed it back to the right point for Drew Weich. He would put a quick, low shot on net that was stopped, but Dylan Haugen was standing at the top of the crease where he jammed it home for his second in as many games at 9:40 of the second. The Bulldogs would keep the pressure up through the frame and be rewarded in the late stages of the period as Brett Stewart made two good plays before catching a puck up the middle at the Caps line and walked into the deep slot where he ripped a wrister home top corner past the blocker of Michasiw for the un-assisted marker at 17:01 of the second to make it 3-2 Dogs. The Bulldogs had a chance on the rush off the centre ice puck drop but failed to connect on it. The Caps would turn up ice and score instead on the rush, where it appeared the Dogs had everyone back defensively. A perfect cross-ice pass from Ryan Burton was deflected right under the crossbar by Kade Kehoe to make it 3-3 at 17:49, with Skylar Pacheco also drawing an assist. The Bulldogs would protest that it didn't go in, but it looked good to me, and to the Referee who was in the perfect position to make the call. The shots were the exact opposite of the first, with the Dogs out shooting the Caps 16-6 for a 22-22 tie after two periods.

The third period was hotly contested, with each side getting their share of chances and both Michasiw and Christopoulos coming up big to keep it 3-3 past the midway mark of the frame. The Bulldogs would earn a power play shortly afterwards on an open ice hit from behind on Taylor Derynck. The Dogs would make quick work on the advantage, with Brett Stewart leading the attack, first putting a shot on net from the top of the point that was deflected off the goal post by Mitch Makin. A second later Michasiw would come up with a blocker save off another Stewart drive. The Dogs would find the net seconds later when Stewart pulled the puck around a defender and threw a quick snap shot on net that was deflected through the five-hole by Chris Schutz for his second in as many games and a 4-3 Dogs lead with Drew Weich also assisting at 13:27 of the third. The Dogs would play a perfect five minutes to kill the clock, winning battles and getting pucks in deep and out of their zone as the Caps couldn't generate much in the way of an attack. They would pull their goalie with over a minute to play for the extra attacker but Mitch Makin made a great play to break it up and take a hit from Rylan Bechtel at the line as Scottie Clark skated it out of the zone and sent Tyler Poveolofskie on a breakaway where he iced it into the empty net with 1:20 to play for the 5-3 Final.

Final shots favoured the Bulldogs 35-28 with Billy Christopoulos picking up second star honours with the win in net while Lane Michasiw took the loss. The Dogs went 1 for 3 on the power play while the Capitals went 1 for 6.

With the win the Dogs have clinched a Playoff spot, and now sit tied for third place in the Island Division. They are next in action Friday night in Victoria.

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