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Monday, December 14, 2015

Bulldogs top Smoke Eaters 4-2 on Teddy Bear Toss night

Tonight's Game Report is brought to you courtesy of the Best Western Plus Barclay Hotel 

The BEST WESTERN PLUS Barclay Hotel, the largest full facility hotel in Port Alberni, BC. When staying with us there is no need to give up conveniences you are used to. You can discover treasures to take home at the Alberni Harbour Quay, and then browse our onsite Cold Beer, Wine Store and liquor store or retreat to our Stamps Cafe or Pastimes Sports Bar and Grill to enjoy a snack or to watch the game on our big screen TV. Then, relax in our sauna or pool before settling in our luxurious accommodations to enjoy the vintage wine picked up earlier. That's when you will truly understand why the tranquil setting of our hotel has been called the perfect place to call home. If traveling on business, our Port Alberni Hotel boasts over 4500 square feet of meeting space in four rooms that are perfect for small conventions, banquets, parties, meetings and weddings. AV equipment and catering are also available.

The Smoke Eaters got off to a blazing start, winning the opening draw and setting up a breakaway for Connor Brown-Maloski just 10 seconds into the game but Brody Claeys came up with a big save to keep it scoreless.While the Dogs remained without a shot until over eight minutes into the game, it wasn't for a lack of effort or zone time. They would make their first shot count as newly acquired Rhett Willcox dumped the puck into the right corner of the Trail zone and chased it down. He would win a battle and throw the puck to the slot for Quinn Syrydiuk, who fed it back to the right point for Dominic Thom. He would walk to the deep slot and blow a slap shot home top corner, far-side over the glove of Bailey MacBurnie to make it 1-0 Dogs and send the Teddy Bears flying 8:52 into the first. The Dogs would have two good chances to build their lead while shorthanded, as MacBurnie came up with back to back shorthanded saves on Liam Conrad on a breakaway and a 2 on 1 rush. The Smoke Eaters had a good chance to tie the game on a scramble later in the period, but Brody Claeys made a series of saves on an initial shot and a rebound before throwing out his right toe to rob Cooper Leitch in the paint. Shots favoured the Smoke Eaters 9-7 after 20 minutes.

The Bulldogs were an inspired team to start the second, running up a 6-0 lead in shots just over four minutes into the period. The Dogs went to a power play soon afterwards, and looked to take a 2-0 lead first on a Josh Adkins shot that apparently hit the post far-side - I wasn't sure that the initial shot went in. A scramble would ensue that saw Owen Johnson walk in from the line and roof a loose puck over a fallen MacBurnie. Unfortunately, one of the Referees lost sight of the puck and whistled it dead before it went in as it stayed 1-0. That would prove huge, as a couple minutes later the Smoke Eaters would score to tie it up as they caught the Bulldogs being over aggressive in the attacking zone, resulting in a 3 on 1 rush. The Smokies would work the puck beautifully to score a highlight reel goal on a give-and-go as Nick Halloran dumped the puck rink wide to the right circle onto the tape of Ross Armour, who would return the puck to Halloran where he scored into the open side despite a valiant attempt by Claeys to get back over to make it 1-1 at 12:30 of the second. The Bulldogs didn't deflate though, as they continued to attack and had a handful of chances throughout the period. They couldn't finish, or couldn't get a bounce to find the back of the net as the game remained tied 1-1 after 40 minutes. The Dogs out shot the Smokies 16-2 in the period, for a two period total of 23-11.

The third period saw some fireworks early as Cooper Sande hit Dominic Thom hard into the end boards when he was in a vulnerable position, resulting in a five minute major for boarding. Early in the power play the Dogs would take a penalty themselves for slashing bringing about two minutes of four-aside hockey. Once back on the power play they would take a 2-1 lead as Troy Dobbs took an Owen Johnson pass in his own end and went up the right wing into the Smokies zone and in deep before throwing a perfect pass to the crease for Liam Conrad who deflected it home through MacBurnie at 6:16. Just 1:59 later it was 3-1 Dogs as Owen Johnson sent Ryan Finnegan in alone on a breakaway only to have MacBurnie make a big left toe save. Credit to Finnegan for sticking with the play, as he put the puck behind the net for Nathan Dingmann. After being knocked down Dingmann would put a perfect centering pass from his stomach onto the tape of Liam Conrad in the hashmarks where he roofed a one-timer top corner, far-side over the glove of MacBurnie to make it 3-1 at 8:15 of the third. The Smoke Eaters didn't go away though, scoring on a seeing eye wrister from the deep slot off the stick of Evan MacEachern from a Nick Halloran pass that beat Claeys low blocker to make it 3-2 at 12:00 of the third. The Smoke Eaters would have one great chance to tie the game with just over four minutes to play when they flew their zone off a draw and chased down a loose puck that saw Harlan Orr alone in front only to be robbed by Claeys to protect the lead. The Dogs would seal the deal into an empty net when Rhett Willcox lifted the puck high to centre ice and into the Smoke Eaters zone where it was chased down by Adam Donnelly. He wouldn't win the race, but he didn't lose it, allowing Quinn Syrydiuk to skate onto it and fire it into the open cage to make it 4-2 with 1:22 to play.

Final shots favoured the Bulldogs 38-18 with Brody Claeys picking up the win while Bailey MacBurnie earned second star honours with the loss. The Dogs went 1 for 3 on the power play while the Smoke Eaters went 0 for 1.

The Dogs are next in action Thursday at home against Victoria.


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