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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bulldogs top Grizzlies 3-2 in Home Opener

A fantastic start to the contest for the Bulldogs as they didn't appear to be feeling any Home Opener butterflies as they came out of the gate flying and pushing the pace with the line of Scotty Clark, Adam Donnelly and Logan Savard getting in on the fore-check and getting the crowd into it early. While they didn't score on the opening shift, the building blocks were laid for the second line out and they kept up the pressure and found the net to make it 1-0 as Jordan Sandhu fed the puck from below the goal line back to the right point for Garrett Halls who got the puck on net with a quick release through traffic. Mitchell Benson would make the initial stop but he couldn't find the rebound as Scottie Clark fired it home at the side of the net. Assists on the play went to Josh Adkins and Garrett Halls at 1:17 of the first. The Dogs had a great chance to make it 2-0 just a minute later but Mitchell Benson just got his blocker out to stop Nathan Dingmann on a breakaway. The Dogs would earn a power play chance later in the period, but failed to generate much on it. The Grizzlies would draw an advantage shortly afterwards, and had several good looks, with the most notable being when Cole Pickup was stopped by Chris Tai on a one-timer from the slot.

Shots favoured the Bulldogs 15-9 after 20 minutes.

The second period was at times scrambly early but still hotly contested with each side having their share of chances. Nathan Dingmann again had a partial breakaway but he just missed the net after deking in tight. Chris Tai would come up with a breakaway save at the other end on Colin Blake who danced in alone. The score stayed 1-0 until the dying moments of the period, thanks to a solid four minute penalty kill by the Dogs when Liam Conrad was whistled on a double-minor for high sticking. Actually, he wasn't whistled as neither of the two Referees made the call when it happened, but one of the two Linesman appeared to catch it as the penalty was handed out after the fact at the next stoppage. The Dogs did a good job of keeping the Grizzlies to the out side and didn't give them much. With less than a minute to go in the frame the Dogs raced in on a 3 on 1 rush where Will Lavezzorio put a puck on net that resulted in a rebound for Brodie Smith, but Benson kept it out. The Dogs would get caught with too many men in deep as the Grizzlies turned up ice on a 3 on 1 rush of their own that they connected on when Braden Gelsinger put a perfect cross-ice pass onto the tape of PJ Conlon who one-timed it into the open side to make it 1-1 with 19:40 gone in the second. Assists on the play went to Kevin Massy and Gelsinger.

Shots were even at 12 aside through the period, for a 27-21 Bulldog advantage after 40 minutes.

The Grizzlies had the best chance to go ahead early in the third on a Braden Gelsinger breakaway chance, but Chris Tai stood tall to keep it out. The Dogs would take the lead back just over eight minutes into the period on a fantastic effort by Logan Savard as he chased down a dump in and fought off two Grizzlies to freeze the puck on the boards for an extended period until reinforcements arrived off the bench on the line change. Josh Adkins would dig the puck loose and feed it back to the right point for Nolan Alward who threw the puck low at the net where Scottie Clark deflected it home past Benson, short-side to make it 2-1 Bulldogs at 8:22 with Alward and Adkins drawing the assists, with a huge effort by Savard not ending up on the scoresheet but also not being overlooked.  The Dogs would push hard to get some insurance and had a series of good chances in tight but Benson would stand tall. With just over three minutes to play the Grizzlies would be awarded a power play on a high sticking penalty to Scott Clark, but the Dogs penalty killers and Chris Tai did a good job to kill it off to protect the lead. The Grizzlies would call time out and pull their goalie with 38 seconds to play and a draw in the attacking zone to try and find the equalizer, but the Dogs got control of the draw and cleared it out where it was chased down by Josh Adkins at centre ice after the last Grizzlies defender fell down as he fired it into the open cage to make it 3-1 from Troy Dobbs and Paul Meyer picking up the assists at 19:29 of the third. That wouldn't do it for the scoring however, as the Grizzlies didn't quit, making it a 3-2 game on a bang-bang play in tight on Chris Tai that saw an initial Kevin Massy shot hit the post and stay out. I actually thought the first one went in, but the puck ended up over the line anyway with just five seconds to play with Braden Gelsinger getting credit for it, with Massy and Cole Pickup drawing the assists at 19:55 for the eventual final score.

Third period shots favoured the Bulldogs 17-12 for a game total of  44-32. I had the Dogs at 0 for 2 on the power play and the Grizzlies at 0 for 4. Chris Tai picked up the win and second star honours in net while Mitchell Benson took third star honours with the loss.

The Dogs host the Kings tomorrow afternoon for a 2pm puck drop.


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