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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dogs win third straight 2-1 over Kings in overtime, clinch playoff spot

Today'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 fantastic start to the game, with end to end hockey and no whistles until 4:31 into the first. The pace remained high, as the Bulldogs pushed and took a 1-0 lead three minutes later as Owen Johnson stepped up at centre ice to knock the puck away from Nick Halagian to create a 2 on 1 rush. Cayden Kraus would find the loose puck, and send Chris Sarault over the line up the right side and into the deep slot where he walked in and out waiting Stefan Wornig before snapping one home top corner, short-side high at 8:11 of the first. The Bulldogs kept up the pressure, and ran up a large advantage in shots but Stefan Wornig was solid to keep the Kings within one. The Bulldogs scored to take a 2-0 lead, but the same Officiating crew as the night before made another very puzzling call to not count it. On the play, Quinn Syrydiuk walked to the net in tight and put a shot on goal from in tight as he was hit by two Powell River defenders. The puck appeared to go off Wornig, and then off Syrydiuk before ending up in the net. Stefan Wornig - who appeared to never take any contact, better yet a serious amount - was adamant that it was batted in by Syrydiuk with his hand. The Referee immediately at the net in perfect position, would adamantly and repeatedly signal goal on the play. As the Bulldogs were celebrating, the second Official entered the zone from somewhere back a couple of zones away and a discussion between both Referees and Linesmen went to the Officials circle. The original call would be reversed, and the goal would be waved off, due to incidental contact on the goalie. As the replay would indicate, this call came out of thin air. In the end the Dogs would hold a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes, and a 19-10 lead in shots.

The second period was noticeably tighter, with less of the end to end play through the early stages. The Bulldogs had some great chances to build their lead, but Wornig was solid to keep it 1-0, coming up with good saves on Cayden Kraus in alone and Nathan Dingmann in tight with the Dogs holding 30-14 lead in shots through the midway point of the period. The Dogs earned a power play soon afterwards, but gave up the equalizer when the Kings won the opening draw and cleared it down ice. Brody Claeys would go behind his net to play it, and initially fake like he was going to rim it up the boards before then just dropping it behind the net. The first man to find it unfortunately was Austin Kamer, who wrapped it around before Claeys could get back to his net to make it 1-1, unassisted at 12:01 of the second. The Bulldogs pushed but failed to capitalize on the power play, and then fought off a Kings power play soon afterwards to keep it tied at 1-1 headed into period three. Shots in the period favoured the Bulldogs 16-12 in the frame, for a 40 minute advantage of 35-22.

The Bulldogs came out and played the third period like a team possessed, generating a ton of chances that were kept out by Wornig early. The Dogs appeared to score for the second time in the game, but stop me if you've heard this before, the goal was disallowed, again incredibly. Wornig would make a great initial save on a deflection, but would pull the back in an attempt to cover it. He would miss covering it, and put it right through his legs and over the goal line. It looked like a King defender also put it over the line in an attempt to save it. The Bulldogs would celebrate, the goal light would be turned on - it certainly looked at bare minumum over the line at least once to me. The Referee at the net would make no signal, looking apparently completely perplexed at the sequence of events. In the end, it was no goal AGAIN, for the second time in the game and the third time in six periods by the same two Referees which might have had something to do with the angrier than usual response from the Dog Pound faithful. Later in the period it was announced that the goal was waved off due to the whistle going first. While it was no doubt a bitter pill to swallow, at the very least it was a plausible reason as it's hard to blame the Official for anticipating that Wornig was going to cover the puck, not miss it and put it into his own net. The Bulldogs would continue to push, but Stefan Wornig would come up time and time again with fantastic saves to keep it tied. Brody Claeys would also come up with a big stop on a net drive with just under seven minutes to go on Johnny Evans as he stacked the pads to get something on it to keep it out. The Bulldogs would earn a power play with three minutes to go, but couldn't capitalize. The Kings would have a fantastic chance to win the game on a draw in the Dogs end with less than 20 seconds to play, but Chris Protopoulos saw his shot hit the outside of the bar and stay out, as the Dogs cleared the puck to kill the clock and gain a single point to qualify for the playoffs and set off a wild celebration in the building with the game not even over. Shots in the third favoured the Bulldogs 21-3 in the period, for a 60 minute total of 56-25.

The Dogs would control the play in overtime, and finally find the winner - I'm still surprised it wasn't somehow waved off after the fact - as Eric Margo went to the net and saw a rebound off a Rhett Willcox shot hit him and go past Wornig for the 2-1 final and another wild celebration as the team poured off the bench to celebrate. Quinn Syrydiuk also drew an assist at 2:04 of the first overtime. Shots in OT favoured the Bulldogs 5-0 in overtime for a game total of 61-25, a season high. Brody Claeys picked up third star honours with the win in net while Stefan Wornig was outstanding in the Powell River goal in getting tagged with the loss. The Dogs went 0 for 4 on the power play while the Kings went 0 for 2 while scoring once while shorthanded.

With the win the Bulldogs have secured the fourth and final playoff spot in the Island Division, as they will visit the Nanaimo Clippers for Game 1 and 2 of a best of seven in Nanaimo next Friday and Sunday before hosting Games 3 and 4 next Wednesday and Thursday.



Barb said...

You did get a video of their win, I hope!!

Hammer said...

I'm battling with a dead computer ... But I can post a video of the ot winner if you would like ?!

Barb said...

That would be great!! Thanks, Hammer

Hammer said...

No problem ... Hopefully will post it later tonight, have to get the kids fed and bathed and in bed first !

Lunn Lyons said...

I would like to thank the Bulldogs,our outstanding Captain Margo and our G.M. and coaches Kevin and Andy,for an outstanding finish to our season! I want Halls to know how much that he is appreciated for his endless hits and Schutz for his goals when we really needed them. The whole team put heart into the finish of the year and there is no better Canadian hockey than that! I`m a proud Bulldog Fan.
Lunn Lyons