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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dogs fall 5-3 to Clippers, robbed late

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

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A high pace from the outset, as the Bulldogs had three great chances through the five or so minutes of the game on partial breakaways down the left wing for Tristan Bukovec, Cayden Kraus and Eric Margo, but Evan Johnson was solid in the Nanaimo net with a series of big saves to keep it scoreless early as the Dogs ran up an 8-3 lead in shots. The Dogs would fail to connect on the first power play of the game, before the Clippers got an advantage on a retaliatory call when a Bulldog defender reacted to a hard hit when what I thought was a pretty healthy run was taken at him in the corner. The Clippers would make the Dogs pay and go up 1-0 on the rush as a defender stepped up at the line and missed, resulting in an odd-man chance that saw Matthew Hoover put a cross-ice pass onto the tape of a streaking Devin Brosseau who deflected it perfectly over Brody Claeys and under the cross-bar. Will Reilly also drew an assist on the play at 14:51 of the first. Another Bulldog penalty and another Clipper power play goal made it a 2-0 game two and a half minutes later as Brody Claeys made two good initial saves, the second on a deflection attempt in the slot. Devin Brosseau would bunt the puck in through a mad scramble in the crease, with assists going to Sheldon Rempal and Yanni Kaldis at 17:31 of the first. Shots favoured the Clippers 12-11 after one.

The Clippers looked like the team down a couple goals to start the second while the Dogs looked perhaps rattled with how the first had ended. A fantastic save by Brody Claeys on a terrible giveaway resulting in a breakaway for Devin Brosseau kept it 2-0 in the first minute, but the Clippers continued to push and connected on their third straight power play to make it a 3-0 game just short of four minutes into the period when Sheldon Rempal put it on a tee for Will Reilly in the deep slot where he blasted a one-timer home long side past the blocker of Claeys at 3:50 of the second. The Clippers appeared to blow it open a minute and a half later, going up 4-0 when Matthew Hoover took a pass in the slot off the right wing from Sheldon Rempal that he pulled through a defender and snapped a quick release just through Claeys and over the line. Devin Brosseau also drew an assist at 5:27 of the second. The Bulldogs would get back into it a minute and a half later when they won a faceoff in their own end and attacked on the rush as Quinn Syrydiuk found Jordan Sandhu at the Dogs line, where he sent Chris Schutz through centre. Schutz would give it to Sandhu over the line and drive the slot where he took a return pass and ripped it home top corner, short-side over the glove of Johnson to make it 4-1 at 8:02. It was Schutz again four minutes later, winning a draw to the half boards to Jordan Sandhu who fed the puck back to the right point for Garrett Halls. He would just simply wrist one on net, with Schutz finding the rebound and sliding it home to make it 4-2 at 12:20 of the second. Just a minute and nineteen seconds later, after a good in-tight save by Claeys on Lucas Finner, the Dogs made it a one-goal game with the patented goals-in-bunches that the Dog Pound seems to always produce, as Eric Margo put a backhand on net off a Troy Dobbs wrap around that was stopped by Johnson. Tristan Bukovec while diving would slide the rebound home at the side of the net to make it 4-3 at 13:39 of the second. Shots in the period favoured the Bulldogs 13-12, for an even shots on goal total of 24 aside after 40 minutes.

The Dogs came out with a good push to start the third, but then took a penalty in the first minute. Brody Claeys would make a ridiculous shoulder save on a cross-ice against the grain one time chance in tight for Devin Brosseau.  The Dogs would push and control the better of the play, having several great looks to get the equalizer, most notably when Tristan Bukovec drilled the cross-bar from the deep slot only to have the puck go out of play. The score stayed 4-3 until the late stages of the game, when the Dogs appeared to tie it up when Jordan Sandhu fed Chris Schutz with a perfect cross-ice pass that he appeared to rip over Johnson and off the back bar and back out to set off a wild celebration as the fans rained hats onto the ice. The Referee off to the side of the net, Adam Griffiths would rule no goal immediately, and then immediately indicate that he was going to the goal judge. A long conversation with the goal judge ensued, with the second Referee joining in. The Officials apparently didn't like what the judge had to say, left his presence and then had their own two-man conversation. At the end of it, no goal would be allowed as the fans rained down a chorus of boos. In what had to be an absolute nightmare for the Officials, instead of it being a tied game just seconds later it was a two-goal game as the Dogs coughed the puck up and Matthew Hoover picked it off in the slot where he walked to the top of the circles and ripped a shot past the stick side of Claeys to make it 5-3 at 14:52 of the third, with Sheldon Rempal and Devin Brosseau drawing the assists. That would be the insurance goal, with the Dogs coming close late but being unable to get within one despite an open net look with a minute to go.

Why does the league even have goal judges if the Officials don't listen to them? Good question. What's worse - the Referee indicating he's going to the goal judge, only to have the Referee disregard his opinion after conferencing with him anyway OR having the Referee not even acknowledging the goal judge's presence?

What will no doubt drive the Bulldogs and their fans absolutely beyond the point of mad, is that sometimes the Referees DO listen to the goal judges. Dan Tisserand remarked post game that he remembered almost the exact same situation - however with the exact opposite decision in the end by the Referee going against the Bulldogs. I went back and looked through the archives, and sure enough, Dan is right.   In this instance the Bulldogs were on the road, and the opposition scored, or appeared to do so. The Referee would wave the goal OFF. He would then go and have a discussion with the home-ice goal judge. He would then reverse his original call and allow a goal. Ouch.

Third period shots favoured the Bulldogs 16-7, for a game total of 40-31 with Brody Claeys taking the loss while Evan Johnson picking up the win. The Dog went 0 for 5 on the power play while the Clippers went 3 for 5.

The Dogs are next in action Saturday night in Victoria.


Don Barkley said...

Has anyone spoken to the goal judge post-game to verify that he did in fact say that the puck crossed the line? There was quite a lot of discussion with the goal judge, so maybe it wasn't as clear-cut as we would like to believe. I'm as choked as anyone over the situation, but I think a little more information is needed. If the goal judge said it was in, then the call and the officials need to have a protest lodged.

Hammer said...

Hey Don - thanks for leaving a comment. Sorry I didn't see it sooner, as it got caught by the spam filter. I personally have not talked to the goal judge. Having said that I have talked to numerous people that have, and according to them not only was the goal judge emphatic that it went in but every single person I have talked to about it also thought it was a goal in their own opinion. That includes not only Bulldog fans but Clipper fans as well. Usually there is ALWAYS someone that sees it differently, but if there is in this instance I haven't heard from them or run into them personally. The goal judge obviously believed it was in at first glance as he turned on the light, and from his body language in talking with the officials he certainly appeared to be arguing the case that it was a goal. In the end it's not something that can be protested as unfortunately it's the referees decision that is final and not the goal judge. Thanks again for visiting the blog and taking the time to comment.