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The Bulldogs jumped out to a good start, with a 2 on 1 rush created by Tristan Bukovec with speed down the left wing just a dozen seconds into the game. Unfortunately his pass just sailed over the stick of Keith Anderson wide open at the back post. The Silverbacks would push right back and get two chances around Claeys that he kept out. The Silverbacks would have the edge in territorial play early in the game, but the Dogs didn't give up much in the way of chances. The Silverbacks would earn the game's first power play chance, but took a penalty half a minute into it to take themselves off of it. The Dogs were unable to capitalize on their advantage, as the game remained scoreless through the early minutes. The Silverbacks would open the scoring at the midway point of the frame, on a play we thought looked offside from the broadcast booth but the Linesman standing no less than 5 feet directly in front of the line made no call either way good or no good as play continued. A shot from the right point would be stopped by Claeys, but the rebound kicked back to the slot and went rink-wide where it was found by Carson Bolduc who slid it home five hole as Claeys went side to side. Carter Stephenson and Elijiah Barriga drew assists on the play at 10:10 of the first. The Bulldogs were penalized immediately following the goal, but were able to kill it off to keep it a one-goal game after one, with shots being 9-8 Silverbacks.
The second period was played at a high pace, but through the midway point the score stayed the same. The Dogs weren't able to generate much in the way of scoring chances, with the Silverbacks having the edge on a early net drive by Ryan Hogg, and back-to-back odd man rushes near the midway mark of the period where Brody Claeys came up with big saves on both Nathan Ianonne and Ryley Booth to keep the Dogs in it. The Bulldogs would earn a power play in the back half of the period, but it was Caleys again forced to come up with a circus save to keep it a one-goal game as a shot block resulted in a 2 on 0 shorthanded breakaway. Claeys didn't challenge on a race to it as I would have expected, as Justin Wilson skated in alone. He didn't make much of a move as Claeys waited him out to make a save. The follow up stop was nothing short of spectacular, as from his stomach he managed in desperation to get his glove hand up to rob Josh Latta to keep the Dogs in it through 40 minutes. Shots in the period favoured the Silverbacks 12-10 for a 40 minute advantage of 21-18.
The Dogs came painfully close to tying it in the early seconds of the third, as a puck came to the front of the net and grazed off the post on what looked like an open net. The Dogs pushed, but the Silverbacks built their lead on a tough bounce as a Silverback faceoff win in their zone saw a clear up the boards hit a seam in the glass to create a 2 on 1 rush. Marcus Mitchell would walk in tight on Claeys to the bottom of the left circle and put a perfectly placed shot under the bar short-side high to make it 2-0, from Josh Latta and Justin Wilson at 4:47 of the third. The Bulldogs couldn't generate a chance to make it a one goal game before the Silverbacks built their lead as the Bulldogs were caught pressing as a turnover at steal at centre ice by Elijiah Barriga caught a Bulldog defenceman on the wrong side of the puck to create a 2 on 1 rush where he made a perfect pass to send Carson Bolduc in alone on Claeys were he scored on a quick shot five-hole to make it 3-0 at 11:34 of the third. As deep as the hole was, the Dogs failed to quit and generated a couple Grade A chances, but again failed to find a way to make one count - Jordan Sandhu had a breakaway he created by going forward on a draw in the Salmon Arm end but Nic Tallarico came up with the initial save and at least two on the scramble that followed. The Dogs had another crazy shift later in the period and a mad scramble at the Silverback net but couldn't make a game of it, with Jordan Sandhu soon afterwards also ringing one off the post that stayed out as the Silverbacks protected the lead to the final buzzer.
Third period shots were 16-10 Bulldogs, for a game total of 34-31 Bulldogs with Brody Claeys taking the loss while Nic Tallarico earned second star honours with the win and shut out. Both teams went 0 for 3 on the power play.
With the loss, the Dogs have lost four straight while the Silverbacks snapped a three game winless slide with the victory. The Bulldogs are next in action Tuesday when they host the Cowichan Valley Capitals for yet another must win game.