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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Dogs top Eagles 6-2, keep pace for final Playoff spot

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 spirited start to both sides of the puck in this one, which was perhaps somewhat surprising due to a 15 minute delay to the start of the game with the Eagles presenting their team awards on the ice before the opening puck drop. The Dogs had a great chance just 10 seconds into the game on a pretty passing play, but Justin LaForest made a left pad save on Ryan Finnegan skating in alone. The Eagles would take a 1-0 lead just short of five minutes in on a careless giveaway by the Bulldogs in their zone and the defence went D-to-D across the zone but lost the puck, as Logan Mostat skated onto it and in alone on the breakaway where he went top corner, far-side over the glove of Carson Schamerhorn. There would somehow be two assists given on the play to Kurt Black and Robert Johnson, when the Dogs had possession and coughed it up.... the time of the goal was 4:43. The Dogs responded in a big way, tying the game less than a minute later when Owen Johnson put a blind spinning wrister on goal from the right point. Tristan Bukovec would deflect it home short-side past LaForest, tying it at 1-1 at 5:36, with Johnson and Jordan Sandhu drawing the assists. Just 26 seconds later it was 2-1 Dogs as Troy Dobbs put the puck below the goal line for Liam Conrad, who put a quick pass out front to the lip of the crease where Cayden Kraus one-timed it under the cross bar at 5:52 of the first. The Dogs kept up the pressure, and after a handful of near misses took a 3-1 lead when Chris Schutz one-timed a Jordan Sandhu pass in the slot wide of the net long-side. It would rim back to the top of the left circle, where Owen Johnson put a low slapper at the net where Tristan Bukovec deflected home his second of the period up and under the cross bar on LaForest at 7:51 of the first to give the Dogs a 3-1 lead. They wouldn't be able to build on it though, as the Eagles fought back to make it a one-goal game in the back half of the period when they won a faceoff in the Dogs end that was found by Robert Johnson, who ripped a quick release from the left circle top corner, far-side over the glove of Schamerhorn to make it 3-2, un-assisted at 11:54 of the first. The Dogs were unable to connect on a power play  Shots favoured the Bulldogs 14-9 after 20 minutes.

The Dogs failed to connect, or impress, on a one-minute plus power play to kick off the second. The period was nothing like the first, with not much in the way of scoring chances for either side through the first half of it. The Dogs created a couple good looks in the back half of it, but on what were pretty good opportunities they failed to hit the net. They drew a four minute power play in the back half of the period when Adam Donnelly was cut with a high stick. After a couple good looks early failed to find the mark, the rest of the way they didn't look especially sharp and the puck didn't cooperate as they couldn't generate much. Shots in the period favoured the Bulldogs 11-4 for a 40 minute advantage of 25-13.

The Bulldogs put on a very good push to start the third period, and were rewarded for it just over five minutes in as Jordan Sandhu found Troy Dobbs on the right wing wall, where he put a perfect heads up pass through the slot to Own Johnson who ripped one home top corner, far side over the glove of LaForest for his first as a Bulldog, against his old team, to make it 4-2. The score would stay that way until the late stages, with the Dogs coming up with a big penalty kill with just a shade over four minutes left to protect the lead. At the second the penalty elapsed the Dogs rubbed some salt in the wound as Tristan Bukovec walked to the net and delayed and out-waited the goalie before dishing off to Chris Schutz who one-timed it into the open side to make it 5-2 with Marshall Skapski also drawing an assist at 17:53 of the third. A few seconds later it was a 6-2 game as a Marshall Skapski shot missed the net, but was found by Cayden Kraus who put it back out front to the slot for Rhett Willcox who snapped it home into the open net at 18:39 for the eventual final score.

Shots in the third period were even at nine aside, with the game total favouring the Dogs 34-22 with Carson Schamerhorn picking up the win while Justin LaForest took the loss. The Dogs went 0 for 4 on the power play while the Eagles went 0 for 4.

With the win the Dogs extend their points streak to four games - two wins, a tie and an overtime loss - and they also keep pace with the Victoria Grizzlies for the final Island Division playoff spot as the Grizzlies beat the Rivermen in Langley 4-0 earlier in the day.

The Dogs wrap up their regular season Saturday and Sunday when they host Powell River.

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