Saturday, March 07, 2015
Never say die Dogs force Game 5 with 5-4 OT comeback win over Clippers
The Bulldogs didn't wilt under the pressure of facing elimination, as they were fantastic throughout the early stages of the third period in controlling the bulk of the play and running up an 11-1 edge in shots through the first half of the opening period. Despite the great start, they weren't able to open the scoring as the Clippers were awarded a power play late in the frame for the second time in the game and connected on it as Brendan Taylor was found by Jake Jackson walking down the right wing where he got in tight on Christopoulos and fired it home to make it 1-0 at 17:17 of the first. The Dogs would answer back just 43 seconds later as a stick lift at the Clippers line by Eric Therrien allowed Mitch Makin to pick off a pass and skate in alone on a breakaway where he beat Decelles with a quick release from the hash marks far-side past his blocker to make it 1-1 at the 18:00 mark of the first and into period two. The Dogs led the shots 18-6.
As much as the Dogs controlled the play and had the jump in the first, the Clippers answered back and had the better of the play early in the second. They would take the lead back just short of six minutes into the period on a terrible turnover by a Dogs defender as an up the middle pass was picked off at the side of the net by Ryan Forbes who went cross-crease for Spencer Hewson who one-timed it into the open side with Christopoulos having no chance on it as it was 2-1 at 5:53 of the second. The Dogs would have their chances on the power play to get back into it on two separate opportunities, including a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct against the Clippers, but they were unable to capitalize. Just seconds later it was 3-1 Clippers as they scored on a 3 on 3 rush when Nicolas Carrier beat his check to the net to tip home a Brett Roulston centering pass at 14:26 of the period. The Dogs would take a penalty on the goal, but managed to kill it to keep within two. They would draw a penalty shortly afterwards, but lost the advantage just four seconds into it when Tyler Povelofskie was ejected for a hit from behind on Nick Gushue. The Bulldogs would answer during four-on-four hockey when Mitch Makin went end to end on a Brett Stewart breakout pass up the left wing where he cut in on goal and snuck it low inside the far post past Decelles to make it 3-2 at 18:06 of the second. The Clippers would get a great chance to take the two goal lead back with 8 seconds to play in the period when Brett Roulston was awarded a penalty shot after getting touched on a breakaway. Billy Christopoulos would out-wait him as Roulston stick handled himself off the puck as it stayed 3-2 Clippers after 40 minutes. The shots favoured the Clippers 16-10 in the second, and the Bulldogs 28-22 on the game.
The Dogs came out with a good jump to start the third period, but despite several chances couldn't get the equalizer. They would earn a power play two minutes into the frame, but turned the puck over at the blue line and had to take a penalty as a result as it was back to four-on-four hockey. The Dogs would draw another one and went to a four on three advantage, but they couldn't capitalize. The Clippers would push with the Dogs bench getting shorter when Eric Therrien was ejected, going up 4-2 on a deflection in front by Sheldon Rempal off a Nick Gushue point shot. Brendan Taylor also picked up an assist on the play at 8:28 of the third as the Clipper fan section celebrated by throwing an orange coloured broom on the ice to celebrate the series sweep. More on that later. The Dogs would find themselves in penalty trouble throughout the remainder of the third as they ended up down a man on three different occasions, including a Clipper 5 on 3 with less than four minutes to play. The Dogs would kill it to keep in the game, and all of a sudden cue a only in the Dog Pound moment. The Dogs would dump it in and in the process of pulling the goalie they made it 4-3 as Guillaume Decelles went out to play it and got caught and Chris Schutz would find it in the right circle and one-time it home into the empty net at the 18:23 mark of the third. It would take 11 seconds for the game to be tied as the roof nearly came off the building as Chris Schutz found a rebound in the slot off a Mitch Makin shot that he lifted home top corner, far-side past the blocker of Decelles at 18:34 to make it 4-4 and force overtime, with the Clippers out shooting the Dogs 14-13 in the third for a 41-26 Dogs advantage after 60 minutes.
Overtime would see the Clippers put on a good push early, with the Dogs pushing back and getting into the game despite the short bench. Each team would have their chances as the period wore on, with the Clippers getting a couple of point-blankers on Christopoulos where he made highlight reel saves on both Brett Roulston and Spencer Hewson to keep the game going. With double OT looming the Dogs would win it off a draw outside the Nanaimo line as Mitch Makin won it back for Eric Margo who used great speed to walk over the Clipper line down the right wing into the top of the circle where he snapped one home through the legs of Decelles to set off a wild celebration in the building as the Dogs poured off the bench.
Final shots favoured the Bulldogs 51-47 with Billy Christopoulos picking up 2nd star honours with the win while Guillaume Decelles took third star honours with the loss. The Dogs went 0 for 8 on the power play while Clippers went 1 for 7.
A final footnote to the broom - it was quite a moment when Mitch Makin came out to take a bow with it in his hand as he was being named as the first star of the game.
Game 5 goes Monday at the Frank Crane.