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Friday, September 09, 2016

Dogs top Clippers 4-1 in season opener

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.

After the pomp and circumstance that accompanies any home opener, the action saw the Clippers with an early edge over the Bulldogs with the first good couple of chances. The Bulldogs pushed back immediately and had a good containment shift in the Nanaimo end, but were unable to get anything on net. The Dogs weathered the early storm and earned the game's first power play just short of the midway point of the first, but they were unable to capitalize on it. The Clippers would go to the power play soon afterwards, but the Dogs kept it scoreless. Another Clipper power play came almost immediately afterwards, with the Bulldogs getting the best chance on it early as Jordan Sandhu skated in on a shorthanded breakaway and attempted to go five-hole, only to have Brendan Barry just get enough to it to keep it out. Seconds after the penalty elapsed, the Dogs opened the scoring as Cayden Kraus found Tristan Bukovec out of the penalty box. He brought the puck over the Nanaimo line and at the net down the left wing and attempted a shot that was blocked. He stuck with it and brought the puck back of the net and tucked a wrap-around inside the far post to make it 1-0 at 18:30 of the first with Kraus drawing the only assist. Shots favoured the Clippers 13-7 in the first.

The second period started with a bang, with the Bulldogs earning a power play and connecting on it before it was 30 seconds old as Jake Witkowski put it on net off a Trevor Cosgrove pass. Barry would make the initial save, but Tristan Bukovec was again in the paint to hammer the rebound home to make it 2-0 just 48 seconds into the second. It was Bukovec again just 1:50 later completing a natural hat trick to open the season as he knocked down a Jake Witkowski pass out of midair in the slot before chipping it home in tight at 2:38 of the second. Incredibly, it was Bukovec again less than four minutes later, scoring his fourth of the game standing in the crease as Jordan Sandhu worked the puck from the left point into the right circle for Trevor Cosgrove. He would throw a quick pass perfectly onto the tape of Bukovec in the paint where he tipped it home on the power play at 6:03 of the second to make it 4-0. The Clippers would get on the board to trim the gap to 4-1 two minutes later on an odd play as a dump in off the end glass hit a seam and bounced right back out the same way it came in. Matt Creamer would find it, and bank one in off Claeys from a sharp angle with Will LeNeave drawing the only assist at 8:55 of the second. The Officials would have a long discussion about the goal, and I couldn't imagine why as it seemed like a good goal to me. There would be no further scoring through the period. Shots favoured the Clippers 12-11, for a 40 minute advantage of 25-18.

The Bulldogs played well with the lead throughout the first half of the third period, not giving up much in their own end while also keeping their shifts short and doing a good job of getting the puck deep into the Nanaimo zone. The Clippers had a good chance to make it a two-goal game on the power play just past the midway point of the third, but Paul Savage made a fantastic desperation play at the net to dive and knock a loose puck away off a Clipper stick on what looked like a sure goal on an open net. There would be no scoring the rest of the way, and not much to speak of until the final minute when frustrations flared and the Clippers took a couple penalties that were of no consequence.

Third period shots favoured the Clippers 15-5 for a game total of 40-22 with Brody Claeys picking up the win while Brendan Barry took the loss before being relieved by Austin Rodin. Unofficial power play stats saw the Dogs go 2 for 7 while the Clippers went 0 for 5.  

The Dogs are next in action tomorrow night when they visit the Grizzlies in Victoria for a 7:00pm start.


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