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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Dogs drop 3-2 overtime decision in Merritt, tie Grizzlies for 4th on Island

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.

A much better start to this game compared to the night before, as both teams played with purpose and were obviously ready considering the stakes. Neither team found the net through the first half of the opening period, with their being not much in the way of glaring scoring chances but a handful of pucks getting on net. The best chance of the period might have been for the Bulldogs as Braydon Nelson walked down the right wing and put a shot on goal far-side that Colten Lancaster turned away with his blocker, but gave up a big rebound on. Cayden Kraus would one-time it on goal, but Lancaster got over to just get enough of it to keep it out. The Bulldogs would take back to back penalties late in the first, overlapping by 8 seconds. They killed off the first not giving up much in the way of chances, and also killed the short 5 on 3 advantage as the period expired. Shots favoured the Bulldogs 13-11 after 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs killed off the remainder of the penalty to start the second, but were promptly penalized almost immediately afterwards on what I thought was a pretty soft call. They would again kill it off, but were firmly planted on their heels as a result of it. The Centennials would have a couple near misses hit the post and crossbar and stay out, but they continued to put on the pressure, and took a 1-0 lead when Zak Bowles after some extended time in the zone walked into the deep slot and put a high backhand on net that hit Brody Claeys up high in the shoulder and took a perfect arc to bounce over the line behind him to make it 1-0. Mitch Lipon and Zach Court drew the assists on it at 8:13 of the second. The Bulldogs responded very well to the goal against, as they didn't sag and didn't let the Centennials build off the momentum as they pushed back over the next couple of minutes to get back in it. A fourth straight penalty call against the Bulldogs to open the game would come later in the period, another fairly soft call in my opinion. Thankfully the even up call came just four seconds later which brought about four-aside hockey. The Bulldogs would tie the game during 4-on-4 as Owen Johnson made a nice outlet pass to Chris Schutz at centre ice. He would work a give-and-go with Jordan Sandhu over the Merritt line and walk deep down the right side before throwing the puck to the crease where it hit Troy Dobbs driving the net and bounced home five-hole on Lancaster to make it 1-1 at 16:44 of the second for a 1-1 tie after 40 minutes. Shots in the period favoured Merritt 11-5 for a two period advantage for the Cents of 22-18.  

The Bulldogs would earn their first power play of the game early in the third period, and while they couldn't connect on it they controlled the puck well and generated momentum in throwing 5 or 6 shots on net. They drew another penalty in short order when Adam Donnelly went forward on a draw in the Cents zone, only to have his stick slashed out of his hands. The Dogs would connect on the power play when Garrett Halls went across the blue line to Owen Johnson at the left point. He would put a low slapper on net that was deflected home by Quinn Syrydiuk crossing the slot to make it 2-1 Dogs at 5:45 of the third. The Dogs would protect the lead into the late stages of the game, coming up with a big four minute penalty kill when Marshall Skapski was whistled for retaliating after a elbow to the head from Nick Germain that went undetected. The Dogs held the lead until the final two minutes, but the Centennials got the goalie out with a faceoff in the Dogs end and capitalized on it as Nick Germain took a perfect back-door pass that he roofed past Claeys to make it 2-2 at 18:30 of the third period. Michael Faulkner and Ryan Roseboom picked up the assists as the game went to overtime. Shots in the third favoured Merritt 11-10 for a 60 minute advantage of 33-28.

Overtime would end quickly as the Dogs failed to get the puck out, while also covering the front of their net as Mark Oshaughnessy found Nick Germain uncovered, where it snapped one home far-side low past Claeys at 39 seconds of overtime for the 3-2 final.

Shots in overtime favoured the Centennials 2-0 for a game total of 35-28 with Brody Claeys earning third star honours while taking the loss, with Colten Lancaster taking second star honours while picking up the win. The Dogs went 1 for 3 on the power play while the Centennials went 0 for 6.

With the point earned, the Dogs are now tied with the Grizzlies for the final Island playoff spot. They conclude their road trip tomorrow in Surrey, a 4:00pm start.


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