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The game started with a bang for the Grizzlies, and with a thud for the Bulldogs, as they found themselves down 1-0 inside the first minute as a pass from behind the goal line made it through a defender and to the high slot for Sage Englund who snapped a one-timer through the legs of Claeys. Nick Guiney also drew an assist on it at 54 seconds of the first. Before the Dogs knew what hit them, it was 2-0 as just 31 seconds later Keyvan Mokhtari blew out of his own zone and past a defender at the Dogs line and in alone where he scored on a pretty five-hole deke on Brody Claeys. Assists on the play went to Jamie Rome and Lucas Clark at 1:23 of the first. The Dogs deserve some credit for not folding under the pressure of the early hole, pushing back and getting their legs under them to make it a 2-1 game just five minutes later as Henry Marshall found a dump in and fed it back to the left point for Connor Welsh. He would put a low wrist shot on net that found its way through traffic on net where it was stopped by Mitchell Benson. He couldn't control the rebound though, as it rattled around before bouncing loose and onto the tape of Ryan Steele who poked it home on the backhand for his first career goal to make it 2-1 at 6:50 of the first. The game went back and forth over the next few minutes, with not much in the way of glaring scoring chances. Later in the frame, Brody Claeys made a big glove save in the slot on a chance from Jake Stevens. His penalty killers would come up huge later in the frame, as they gave up only a single shot on a 5 on 3 for the Grizzlies of 1:35 in duration. Immediately afterwards, the Dogs tied the game at 2-2, or so it appeared, as Tristan Bukovec threw the puck on the net on the rush. Quinn Syrydiuk would have the puck hit him in the body and go over the line as he crashed the net. The Referee with the best view of the play, in perfect position in fact, would emphatically signal goal, pointing at the net 5 of 6 times. HOWEVER, a Linesman in a different zone of the ice would be allowed to over rule the Referee, and the goal was disallowed with the claim that there was a kicking motion. Shots in the first favoured Victoria 11-8.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Dogs earned a power play immediately afterwards, and another one to start the second. They didn't look especially good on them though, not generating much in the way of chances or momentum. Brody Claeys would come up with a huge save on a cross-ice 2 on 1 chance to keep it a one-goal game as he went side to side to get his left pad on a Tyler Welsh shot. The Bulldogs would push back and tie the game in the back half of the second as Connor Welsh took a Ryan Finnegan pass and carried the puck over the line up the right wing, and dished off to Tristan Bukovec walking down the left side. Welsh would go right to the net, where Bukovec put a perfect pass onto his tape in the paint where he tapped it home for his first career goal to make it 2-2 at 13:40. Just seconds afterwards, the Dogs ended up in the penalty box on a trip behind their net. It would come back to bite them as the Grizzlies took the lead right back when Cole Pickup converted a pass in the deep slot and snuck it by Claeys. Assists went to Tyler Welsh and Keyvan Mokhtari at 14:17 of the second. The Dogs would take a penalty on the ensuing centre ice faceoff, but came up with a big kill against the Grizzlies momentum to keep it 3-2 after 40 minutes. Shots favoured Victoria 11-10 in the period for a two period total of 22-18.
The third period saw the Dogs start on the power play, but they couldn't capitalize. They earned another chance soon afterwards, and made good on this one on a very simple play as Quinn Syrydiuk took a Braydon Nelson pass at the Victoria line and walked down the left wing where he simply put a low wrister on goal. Benson made the save, but kicked out a fat rebound that was hammered home by Cayden Kraus into the open side to make it 3-3 at 2:53 of the third. The Bulldogs would take their first lead of the game just over seven minutes in when Jarrod Isley blocked a shot in front of his net, allowing Jordan Sandhu to find the puck and head-man it to Auggie Moore. He would walk over the Grizzlies line and put a hard wrister on net that appeared to click off a defender and off the stick of Benson and go right under the back bar and right back out. The Referee would again immediately signal goal, and there was no changing of the call this time as it was 4-3 Bulldogs with Jordan Sandhu drawing the lone assist at 7:01 of the third. The Bulldogs looked for some insurance just two minutes later when they went to the power play, but they would unfortunately give up a shorthanded breakaway that Keyvan Mohktari made good on, with no assists on the play at 10:04 of the third. The power play would become a 5 on 3 on the next whistle, but they couldn't capitalize. Shots in the third favoured the Bulldogs 11-7 for a game total of 29-29.
The first overtime saw the Grizzlies carry the play, but neither team could find the net. KEyvan Mokhtari had the best chance on a cross-ice pass, but Brody Claeys came up with a big save. Double OT was fantastic to watch and end-to-end, with each team having back to back odd-man rushes that they couldn't capitalize on. The Dogs would miss high and wide on a 3 on 1 rush, resulting in a breakaway for Justin Michaelian that he converted on to win the game with a nice deke and high finish at 2:55 of overtime for the 5-4 final.
Shots favoured the Grizzlies 10-2 through overtime, for a 39-31 game total. I had the Dogs at 1 for 9 on the power play, while the Grizzlies were 1 for 6 while they also scored once while shorthanded.
Three out of four points on the road to open the season is not bad - however it's obvious like every other team the Dogs have much to work on. The Dogs are next in action Friday when they host the Clippers for their Home Opener.