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Friday, March 06, 2015

Clippers take 3-0 series lead with 4-3 win in a nasty one

A spirited start to this contest, with the Dogs having a good chance on a Mitch Makin rush in the early seconds of the game. After that it was all Clippers, with Billy Christopoulos making a fantastic save on Brett Roulston on a cross-ice pass on a 2 on 1 rush. The Clippers would keep up the pressure and throw a bunch of pucks on net, with Christopoulos looking sharp. The Dogs would end up spending too much time in their zone, and took a penalty as a result. While the Clippers pressed, the Dogs killed it off to keep it scoreless. A Bulldog power play would come shortly afterwards when Spencer Hewson drove the Dogs net an appeared to deliberately run Christopoulos. While they had good zone time, the Dogs were unable to get any pucks on net on Guillaume Decelles. Another Bulldog power play came later in the period, but again the Dogs couldn't generate much in the way of chances, although they did a better job of moving the puck around and attempting shots. Immediately after the Dogs power play, the Clippers were given a chance of their own. While the Dogs killed it, they couldn't clear the zone and the Clippers went up 1-0 just eight seconds later as Brett Roulston found Nicolas Carrier wide open between the hashmarks where he went top corner, glove side on Christopoulos with a beautiful shot at 16:08 of the first. The Clippers took a 1-0 lead to the roo after one, and a 19-11 edge in the shots.

The second period saw the Bulldogs penalized inside the first two minutes on what was an odd call simply that the Referee watched the play and put his arm up late. The Clippers would take advantage of the opportunity early as just seconds into it they went up 2-0 on a 2 on 1 rush as Brett Roulston kept the puck up the right wing and fired a perfect shot top corner, short-side under the crossbar and over the glove of Christopoulos. Assists on the play went to Cole Maier - and I thought Edwin Hookenson deserved one as well, 2:19 into the second. The Dogs would fail to answer on a power play chance of their own just a minute and change later, and then would keep the Clippers off the board on another power play advantage for them with Billy Christopoulos making a highlight reel save going post to post to get his glove up and rob Nicolas Carrier on a wide open net. The Dogs would get on the board after yet another kill to keep themselves within striking distance as Drew Weich blocked a shot in front of the Dogs net, and Tyler Povelofskie dove in desperation to swipe it ahead for Eric Therrien behind the Clippers defence out of the penalty box. Therrien would connect with a pretty move on the breakaway, faking backhand and then tucking it home inside the post to make it 2-1 at 13:14 of the second. Any momentum gained was quickly gone as the game ground to a hault with nine - yes NINE penalties called in the next 1:01 of game time as things got silly on several occasions. The Dogs would battle back to tie it up on a faceoff in the Nanaimo end as Mitch Makin tied it up before it bounced to the net front where Chris Schutz fired a quick backhand low, glove side on Decelles to make it 2-2 at the 17:00 mark of the second. An undisciplined penalty would come back to haunt the Dogs late in the period, as the Clippers went to the man advantage where they scored for the second time in the game with just 16 seconds left in the period as Kale Bennett picked the top corner, far-side over the glove of a screened Christopoulos from the top of the left circle. Assists on the play went to Cole Maier and Jacob Hanlon at 19:44 of the second for a 3-2 Clippers lead after 40 minutes. The Dogs out shot the Clippers 21-10 on the period, for a 32-29 advantage heading into the third.

The Clippers would double the lead just inside of three minutes into the third period on a perfectly weighted indirect pass by Austin Dick who was simply clearing it out of his zone of the right halfboards from the slot. It would bank into the Dogs end perfectly into the deep slot where Jake Jackson skated onto it for the breakaway where he scored on a pretty move similar to Eric Therrien's as he faked cutting across the crease before going back against the grain to tuck it in past Christopoulos. The only assist on the play went to Austin Dick at 3:01 of the third to make it 4-2. The Dogs killed off a penalty to keep it a two goal spread just short of the midway mark before drawing a penalty seconds later. They would again fail to capitalize on it, before a nasty after the whistle scrum saw Austin Dick throw two sucker punches on a prone Bulldog and pick up an extra two minutes. The Dogs would take themselves off the power play when Tyler Povefskie picked up a minor for cross checking while he was unable to draw a retaliation penalty on what looked like a similarly dangerous hit. Another minor went to the Dogs after a player banged his stick on the penalty box glass, something similar also happened the other way earlier in the period that went uncalled. The Dogs would kill off a 4 on 3 advantage before then drawing a call to make it a power play when they killed off the remaining time. That would prove huge with just over two minutes left as the Dogs pulled Christopoulos for the extra attacker to make it a 6 on 4. They would pull within one when Garrett Halls put the puck down the left wing for Josh Adkins, who went cross-ice to the right point for Brett Stewart who one-timed one on goal. It would be stopped by Decelles but the rebound remained in the paint where Drew Blackmun fired it home to make it 4-3 on the power play with 2:0 to play. The comeback would fall short however, with the Dogs coming close on several frantic seconds but unable to beat Decelles. Terrible luck would be the final exclamation point on the night as Chris Schutz had a perfect set up to the left circle for a cross-ice one-timer but his stick snapped in two pieces as the shot missed the net and time ticked off the clock.

Final shots favoured the Dogs 48-34 with Billy Christopoulos taking the loss while Guillaume Decelles picked up 1st star honours with the win. Unofficial power play stats - it got pretty hard to keep track with it being a full three-ring circus at times. I had the Dogs at 1 for 7 on the power play while the Clippers went 2 for 9, another big difference in the final end result.



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