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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dogs drop eighth straight game, 3-0 in Coquitlam

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A high pace early to this game, with Brody Claeys being forced to make a big save on the doorstep in the first minute on a rebound off of William Lawrence in the paint to keep it scoreless. The Dogs pushed back and generated a couple good chances of their own, with Mackenzie Wight stealing the puck at the Express line and sending Jake Witkowski on a partial breakaway into the right circle where he was stopped by Reid Cooper. Another good chance for the Dogs appeared headed to the top corner, but hit the head of Cooper and stayed out. The Express would open the scoring - with the Dogs trailing for the seventh straight game - just over eight minutes into the game on a nice pass through centre ice springing Christian Bosa over the Bulldogs line up the left wing where he walked into the top of the left circle and put a perfect top corner wrist shot long-side over the glove of Brody Claeys. Assists on the play went to Noah Turanski and Cal Babych at 8:29 of the first. The Express appeared immediately inspired by the goal, while the Dogs noticably sagged, and it was 2-0 as a result less than two minutes later as a shot from the right point by David Guinta was deflected home in the paint by Christian Bosa top corner, over the shoulder of Claeys. The Bulldogs would protest that it was a high stick, and the Officials talked about it before deciding the goal stood. Assists on the play went to David Guinta and Keegan Jones at 10:03 of the first. The Bulldogs responded well to the two quick ones against, pushing back to create some good chances of their own, but being unable to cash in on them to trim the deficit. The Express would earn a power play later in the period, and a puck appeared to be headed mid air into the back of the net but it somehow stayed out. The Dogs earned a power play in the final minute of the period, but couldn't capitalize. The Express out shot the Dogs 18-11 in the first.

The Bulldogs failed to capitalize on the power play to start the second, but earned one almost immediately afterwards as Tristan Bukovec was slashed behind the Express net. A painfully weak even up call at the bench on the delay against the Bulldogs saw them never get the power play chance, and on the ensuing puck drop it was a 3-0 game as Blake Hayward walked in alone on Brody Claeys and converted the chance with a backhand deke that he tucked in on the forehand inside the far post. The lone assist on the play went to William Lawrence at 1:23 of the first. As the next couple of minutes played out, the Dogs were caught on several instances up ice and watching, resulting in the Express getting a handful of odd man rushes and partial breakaways that Claeys was good on to keep out to keep them in the game. The Dogs didn't generate much throughout the period in the way of offense, but did have a couple positive shifts of containment in the attacking zone, but were held off the scoreboard through 40 minutes. Shots in the period were 12-9 Coquitlam, for a 30-20 advantage after two periods.

The Dogs came out a team possessed through the first minute of the third and threw three big hits in succession in succeeding in killing the penalty off that carried over to start the period. The hitting wasn't as infectious as I hoped it might have been, as that element was gone from the game soon afterwards. As the period wore on, the Dogs failed to generate many chances, credited with just five shots on net through 10 minutes of the third. The Bulldogs showed some signs of good character through the back half of the period, generating a couple good chances around the Express net and digging hard to break the shut out bid all the way until the dying seconds of the game when they had back to back to back opportunities around the Express net that failed to find the back of it.

Third period shots favoured the Bulldogs 15-9, for a game total of 39-35 Express. Brody Claeys earned 3rd star honours while taking the loss, while Reid Cooper earned 1st star honours with the win and the shut out. The Dogs went 0 for 4 on the power play while Express 0 for 2.

With the loss, the Dogs have now dropped eight straight games, scoring six goals in the process, including three in one game. They have been shut out four of their last seven games, and twelve times this season. They have two games left to play, in Duncan on Friday and home against Powell River on Saturday.


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