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A pretty good pace from the outset in this contest, with not much in the way in glaring errors resulting in Grade A scoring chances for either side through the first ten minutes, with each side credited with five shots on net. The pace stayed high through the period, with the Dogs having several near misses on rebound chances in front that just failed to cooperate for both Braydon Nelson and Kyle Kaufmann. The Capitals would earn the first power play chance of the game late in the period, but the Dogs killed it off until the final 30 seconds before drawing a penalty to earn a chance of their own. The Capitals would have the best chance of the game while shorthanded, as Max Newton head-manned it and took off and beat everyone to the net for a breakaway that saw Brody Claeys get his right pad down to keep it scoreless. Shots favoured the Bulldogs 9-7 through 20 minutes.
The second period was somewhat scrambly with not a lot of flow through the first five minutes. A long delay would then be brought about after Ayden MacDonald hit Malik Kaila head first into the right wing wall in the Bulldogs zone as Kaila was removed from the ice on a stretcher after being immobilized. The Bulldogs weren't sharp on the five minute major - the call being for a blow to the head, which didn't seem correct, but a major penalty was certainly warranted. Whether it was due to the lengthly delay, or due to the mental impact of seeing a teammate down - or a combination of both, the Dogs only managed two shots on net, while conceding three. The most notably being a partial breakaway across the crease where Brody Claeys got his glove out to rob George Sennott. The Dogs got going as the period wore on, but penalties would soon become prevalent both ways. The Caps earned an advantage, before taking two penalties to put the Dogs up on a 4 on 3 then 5 on 3 power play - before the Dogs then took a penalty to even it up. The Dogs would draw another call late in the frame when Cayden Kraus was hooked up on a shorthanded breakaway that Lane Michasiw made a solid save on to keep it scoreless after 40 minutes. The Dogs out shot the Capitals 17-6 in the period, for a 40 minute advantage of 26-13.
The Bulldogs had a jump to their step and an edge to the play throughout the third period, but despite several loose pucks around the net couldn't cash in to open the scoring as it remained 0-0 through the back half of the third period. The Bulldogs would earn a late-game power play, on what looked like a nothing call after a scary trip seconds early that saw Cole Slaney go feet-first into the end boards go un-called. Lane Michasiw would make a game-saving stop as he went left to right to rob Alex MacDonald on a perfect cross-ice set up by Trevor Cosgrove. An odd sequence of penalty calls would follow that, with Tristan Bukovec being driven head first into boards behind the Capitals net by Josh Owings. Everyone would grab a partner after the whistle, including Owings doubling over Alex MacDonald in a head lock. Somehow the Officials saw something that absolved Owings for anything after the whistle, and gave MacDonald four minutes to bring about a Capital power play. The Dogs would kill it off efficiently, barely conceding their zone, but soon afterwards the Capitals opened the scoring, in controversial fashion. It appeared the puck had clearly exited the Bulldogs zone before being thrown on net from the right point where it was deflected home past Brody Claeys by Trevor Ayre from the top of the crease. Assists on the play went to Marshall Skapski and Jarid Domin with just 3:40 to play in the third period. The Bulldogs would immediately protest, and to the Linesman's credit he knew that either the call was blown or that he wasn't in a position to make the call and he gathered the other Officials for a discussion about it. That would quickly end however, with the goal standing. The Dogs would get their goalie out for the extra attacker and had good pressure and a handful of pucks around the Caps net but as was the theme for the night they couldn't get one to go. The Capitals would seal the deal into an empty net on a wrap around that appeared to have the net dislodged at least partially by a sliding Bulldog defender, but the goal again stood with Max Newton getting credit for it - I thought it was Rhett Kingston that scored it, but he was given the only assist instead at 19:52 of the third for the 2-0 final.
Third period shots favoured the Bulldogs 12-8, for a game total in their favour of 38-21 - a season low in shots conceded. Brody Claeys took the loss while earning 2nd star honours while Lane Michasiw earned up 1st star honours with the win and the shut out. The Bulldogs went 0 for 5 on the power play, while the Capitals went 0 for 6.
The Dogs next see action Friday when they host the Grizzlies for their final game before the Christmas break.
A final note - I've received several inquiries about the status of Malik Kaila after the nasty hit he took and the scary scened that followed it. I don't have any information to share on his status other than he is at the Duncan hospital and it's a safe assumption that it's a hit that resulted in an injury and the league will take a hard look at it for supplemental discipline. Just my opinion on it - I don't think Ayden MacDonald had intent for that end result to occur, but it was certainly reckless/careless and resulted in an injury and a frightening scene that no one ever wants to witness or be a part of.