CREDIT: Russ Alman, Digital Media Northwest
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The pace was fast from the opening puck drop , with the Dogs getting a fantastic chance inside the first minute as Tristan Bukovec picked off a pass and skated in on a clear-cut breakaway. As he got in on Anthony Yamnitski, he would be both hooked and hacked while in the act of shooting, and couldn't even get a shot away. Somehow, neither of the Referees deemed it worth a penalty. The Bulldogs would be penalized soon afterwards, and killed it off with the killers standing tall and Brody Claeys making a big point blank save on Slava Demin in front. The Wild would be penalized later in the period for too-many-men, and while the Bulldogs spent the first part of the power play fighting the puck, they spent the back half of it moving it around confidently in the Wild end. It would lead to a goal just as the power play elapsed, as Trevor Cosgrove made a great keep at the right point, before finding Nick Rasovic on the right wing. He would walk to the net before putting a perfect cross-slot pass onto the tape of Jordan Sandhu, who slammed it into the open net to make it 1-0 Dogs at 14:45 of period one. The Dogs looked to have drawn a penalty at the period's conclusion, as a Wild player took a long run and contacted Jake Witkowski in the head and snapped it back rather visciously, but neither Referee deemed it worthy of a penalty. Shots in the period favoured the Wild 15-8.
The Wild would tie it early in the second, on a play that initially from my angle looked to be off a high-stick. The Referee at the net would make no call, as he didn't appear to see it. The Officials would convene to talk about it, with the goal standing to make it 1-1 as Matt Baker getting credit for it, with assists to Dakota Raabe and Colin Burston at 2:21 of the second. The Wild would continue to push the pace and carry the better of the play, and were almost immediately rewarded for it as a Bulldog turnover up the middle of their zone ended up on the tape of Jasper Weatherby. He would walk in tight through the right circle and snap a shot on Claeys that he stopped with his left pad, but Sam Morton was perfectly positioned following the play to one-time the rebound home into the open side to make it 2-1 Wild at 3:26 of the second. The Bulldogs would call time out immediately after the goal, and it appeared to be a good move to stem the tide and reset the bench. The Dogs would push back and fight the puck into the Wenatchee end and earned a power play as a result of it, and a follow up penalty immediately after the first. They had no less than five great chances at the out set of the power play, but Anthony Yamnitski held the fort to protect the lead. At the other end of the ice, Brody Claeys made several huge saves while shorthanded to keep the Dogs in it. He made two highlight reel saves throughout the period, the first being a desperation glove save on a wide open Brendan Harris in front, and the second on a breakaway across the crease by Charlie Combs. The Dogs had a glorious chance to tie the game with less than a minute to play in the period when Mackenzie Wight was sent in alone by a perfect pass up the middle by Ryan Steele, but the puck bounced over his stick as he deked in tight on goal as it stayed 2-1 Wild into the third. Shots in the period were 16-7 Wild, for a 40 minute total in their favour of 31-15.
The Bulldogs continued to chase the puck and spend too much time defending throughout the third period, with Brody Claeys again continuing to play lights out to keep them in the game, coming up with point blank saves on in-alone chances for both Matthew Baker and Charlie Combs to keep it a one-goal game. The Dogs would take an undisciplined penalty short of the midway mark of the period, The Wild made them pay immediately, scoring 12 seconds into it as a won faceoff was sent by Brenan Harris to the left point for Tyler Rockwell. He would sneak in and then sneak a slap shot through the arm of a screened Claeys to give the Wild a 3-1 lead, and all the insurance they needed. Also drawing an assist on the goal was Dakota Raabe at 8:57 of the third. The Dogs failed to muster much of an attack as the period continued to the latter stages, with Claeys again giving them every chance with a couple more big saves late to keep it a one-goal game. The Bulldogs wouldn't be able to muster an attack to get back in it. The Dogs would earn a power play with a minute and change to go, and pulled their goalie to make it a 6 on 4 advantage. They had a great chance in the slot and at the side of the net, but Yamnitski kept it out before Matthew Baker found it, where he snapped it 200 feet into the empty net for the 4-1 final at 19:55 of the third, with assists going to Anthony Yamnitski and Alex Bates on the shorthanded empty netter.
Third period shots favoured the Wild 17-5 for a game total of 48-20 with Anthony Yamnitski and Brody Claeys being the goalies of record. The Dogs went 0 for 4 on the power play while the Wild went 1 for 4 while also scoring shorthanded.
The Dogs are next in action tomorrow in Penticton when they visit the Vees for a 6:00pm puck drop.