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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Clippers win a crazy one, 7-4 over Bulldogs

A fantastic start to the game for the Bulldogs, as they were quite obviously up for this game and ready to play. They won the opening draw and got the puck in the Nanaimo end and immediately went to work, drawing a penalty just over 30 seconds into the game. While they failed to score on the advantage, they succeeded in getting lots of pucks to the net, generating a couple chances, and most importantly - keeping the momentum going. They would take a 1-0 lead just over five minutes into the game when Nathan Walker dumped the puck in softly from centre ice. Scottie Clark showed great hustle to beat everyone to the puck behind the net where he threw it to the high slot for Eric Margo, who one-timed it top corner, past the blocker of Jonathan Reinhart at 5:03 of the first. The Dogs kept the pressure up, drawing a penalty and connecting on it with just five seconds to go in the advantage as Troy Dobbs was rewarded for just simply throwing the puck at the net from the left point, as it deflected off the back of a Clipper and in. Nathan Dingmann picked up the only assist at 9:40 of the first with the Dogs up in the shots on goal department 12-2. The Dogs would end up in the penalty box shortly afterwards, and the Clippers would get into the game as a Kale Bennett shot from the line was deflected and stopped by Chris Tai. He couldn't find the rebound through the traffic though, as it was jammed onto the goal line where it was poked home by Corey Renwick. Assists on the play went to Chris Dodero and Edwin Hookenson at 11:33 on the power play. The Bulldogs didn't let the goal against get to them, as they pushed back and continued to push the pace and get pucks on net. An after the whistle skirmish at the Clipper goal saw Eric Margo being the only player penalized. The Clippers would again strike on the man advantage to make it 2-2 as Sheldon Rempal put a shot off the net long-side from the top of the left circle that deflected in off a Bulldog leg. Matthew Hoover would pick up the only assist on the play at 17:16 of the first. Just over a minute later it was 3-2 Clippers as a Bulldog defender got stuck up ice at the Clipper line off a Bulldog dump in. Eric Margo did a great job on the back check to race to his own net, but he couldn't make a play on the puck as Matthew Hoover one-handed it past a Chris Tai poke-check attempt. There would be no assist on the play at 18:48 of the first, as the Clippers took the 3-2 lead to the room with the Dogs up 17-11 in the shots.

The Dogs were penalized late in the first on an odd call at the Dogs net that saw Chris Tai contacted, but the Dogs pick up the only penalty. It would once again end up in the back of their net as a missed point shot bounced back hard off the end boards and out front. Tai would make the initial save, but the puck squeaked through and rolled like a top on the goal line. Paul Meyer was unable to clear it before Devin Brosseau poked it home to make it 4-2. Yanni Kaldis picked up the only assist on the play at 55 seconds into the period. The Clippers would again go to the power play, and would again connect on it to make it a 5-2 game on another tough luck goal as a point shot was tipped down into the ice by a Bulldog defender before bouncing in the air where it was bunted home by Matthew Hoover. Will Reilly and Devin Brosseau drew the assists at 6:02 of the second as Carson Schamerhorn entered the game off the bench in relief of Chris Tai. The Bulldogs would get one back less than two minutes later to trim the deficit as Paul Meyer kept the puck in at the Clippers line at the right point and put a wrist shot on goal that was deflected home by Quinn Syrydiuk for his first career goal to make it 5-3 at 7:55 of the second. The Bulldogs would earn a four minute power play later in the period, but were unable to connect on it to make it a one goal game as the Clippers took the two-goal lead to the room after 40 minutes. The Clippers out shot the Dogs 12-8 in the period (although Dan Tisserand had the Dogs having 11 shots) for a two-period total of 25 shots aside.

The third period was pretty fun to watch, as the Bulldogs came out and after a couple hard Clipper attacking shifts pushed back throughout the remainder of the period and were relentless on the attack. It looked for a while that they weren't going to be rewarded for it, but they finally got a bounce with seven minutes and change to go as Nathan Dingmann found the puck behind the goal and simply fired it out front, where it glanced off a Clipper and in to make it 5-4 at 12:39 with Josh Adkins assisting. The Dogs would push for the equalizer in the late stages, pulling their goalie with over a minute to go and a faceoff in the Clippers end. They would generate a great chance with a win on the draw but couldn't generate a second chance before allowing the puck to exit the zone where it was promptly turned over onto the tape of Sheldon Rempal. He would make no mistake hitting the empty net from centre ice to make it 6-4 with 53 seconds to play. The goal was un-assisted. The Dogs pulled their goalie again with nothing to lose late, but the Clippers would find the net to rub some salt in the wound on a chased-down loose puck in the Dogs at 19:59 as Chris Dodero just beat the buzzer to make it a 7-4 final.

Final shots favoured the Dogs 35-33 with Chris Tai taking the loss while Jonathan Reinhart picked up the win in net. The Dogs went 1 for 5 on the power play and the Clippers went 4 for 4.

While the critical fan who simply demands wins and deems losses unacceptable won't like the end result of this one, anyone who watched the game in person or on Fast Hockey or had their ears peeled to the radio had to no doubt find a lot of positives to take out of this one, despite the end result on the scoreboard. The three previous losses don't compare to this one in my opinion as while they failed for the most part to inspire, this one was completely different. The Bulldogs were ready to play from the opening puck drop. They played inspired and passionate hockey with some urgency and desperation mixed in, and it was a pleasure to watch. While there are certainly areas to improve - they needed a save and a penalty kill at one end, and to capitalize on a power play and finish a scoring chance at the other - if the Dogs continue to bring the same level of work ethic and preparation and improve on their consistency, the results will certainly come.

Of concern is that the Bulldogs lost yet another player early in the game due to injury, and once again there was no penalty call on the play. I don't know the playing status of Cayden Kraus moving forward so can't comment on it, but I do know they lost him in the first minutes of the game and he didn't return. I didn't see the incident, just the aftermath so it's hard for me to comment. At the same time if a player is profusely bleeding and badly cut by a high stick and subsequently loses a couple teeth, you have to hope one of the four officials sees and calls something. 

The Dogs are next in action Friday night at home when they host the Victoria Grizzlies.



Anonymous said...

It is good of you to try and find some positives but really, another loss? Seems like the team is not firing on all cylinders. Could it be the style of coaching that is at fault?

Hammer said...

Thanks for the comment. It was certainly easier to find positives in this game as opposed to the previous three. Yet I was still running into people that thought I was too negative about the previous three games. I always try to be fair, and I always try to be honest, and I always try to be positive to a fault. Previous experience has shown me that being negative only leads to more negativity, and the job doesn't get very fun, and nothing good comes of it!

I usually always try to avoid laying any blame on any single entity of facet of the game. It's a team game after all. I think the blame can certainly be equally shared throughout the start to the season. Offense needs to be better, defence needs to be better. Blame the vets as they need to step up, the rookies because they need to pull their weight....the goaltending, the coaching, the penalty kill and the power play, the radio guys the bus driver and the trainers too, all need to pull up their socks :)