Another great start for the Bulldogs, as they put two pucks on net inside the first 15 seconds of the game. The pace remained high over the following minutes, and the Dogs opened the scoring just over four minutes in at the end of a long board battle in the Express zone with Brandon Bergado doing the most of the work early before Gregg Lee arrived to provide support. Bergado would finally get it loose for Lee, who put a perfect backdoor pass onto the tape of a pinching in Connor Welsh, who one-timed it into the open side backdoor to make it 1-0 at 4:25 of the first. The Express countered with a couple good chances of their own, the most notably being on an extended goal mouth scramble that saw John Hawthorne stand tall with a series of good saves. The Dogs would have a great penalty kill to earn momentum, including a 2 on 1 rush that saw Michael Sacco be just unable to get a shot on net on a cross-ice pass. Later in the period Cayden Kraus would be stopped in alone on the door step by Reid Cooper, as would Jackson Doucet on a one-timer from the slot off a Grayson Valente set up from the point. In the end, the Dogs led 1-0 after one, with shots even at 12-12.
The Bulldogs started the second period well, and spent extended periods throughout the first half of it having a territorial advantage on the Express but being unable to parlay it into a goal to widen their lead. They earned their first power play of the game soon afterwards, but Reid Cooper was good when called upon to keep it a one-goal game. The Express would get a power play chance of their own later in the period, with John Hawthorne coming up with one of his best saves of the night with his glove robbing Troy Robillard who appeared to have the top corner picked short-side. The Express would get the equalizer with less than five minutes to play in the frame on the rush, as Sam Kozlowski entered the Dogs zone and put a quick wrister on a rolling puck top corner, far-side over the shoulder of Hawthorne to make it 1-1. Alex Ambrosio drew the only assist at 15:07 of the period. It was the Dogs turn to answer quickly this time, as just 12 seconds later it was a 2-1 game as Gregg Lee fed Darren Rizzolo at the top of point. He would walk into the deep slot, and throw a shot wide of the net that caromed off the end glass and right back to the front of the net where Brandon Bergado one-timed it home at 15:19 of the second. The Dogs had a couple more good chances around the net as the period wound down, but they couldn't build the lead. Shots in the period favoured the Dogs 20-7 for a 40 minute total of 32-19.
The Express quickly tied it two minutes into the third on an odd play from behind the goal line that snuck out onto the tape of Christian Sanda who scored on a perfectly placed top corner, short-side high shot from in tight with Colby Pederson drawing the only assist at 2:32 of the third. The Dogs took the lead back nine minutes into the frame on a 4 on 2 rush that saw Cole Poliziani dig the puck loose in the Dogs zone on the left wing wall to find Mitch Oliver. He in turn head-manned it to Isaac Tonkin-Palmer who gained the zone up the left wing and ripped a perfectly placed wrist shot with a quick release top corner, long-side past the glove of Cooper to make it 3-2 at 9:00 of the third. They would double their lead two minutes later on a odd play that saw William Lawrence caught with the puck in his feet near the blue line in the Dogs zone. As he was spinning to locate it, he was hit awkwardly by Gregg Lee. The puck would come free for Darren Rizzolo, who carried it around one defender and walked into the zone as the Express were attempting to jump Lee for some retribution for the hit. Rizzolo would quite similarly pick the top corner on the rush like Tonkin-Palmer as he ripped a quick release top corner, far-side over the glove of Cooper. Assists on the play went to Brandon Bergado and Sami Pharaon at 11:17 of the third. The Dogs had another chance to build the lead mixed in the fray, as Ryan Steele was stared down and stopped on a breakaway by Reid Cooper. The Express would be awarded a power play with just over five to play, and they capitalized to make a game of it with a seeing eye wrister by Troy Robillard finding the top corner over the shoulder of Hawthorne to make it 4-3 at 14:45 of the third, with Christian Sanda and Eric Linell assisting. The Dogs had another chance to seal the deal on a breakaway with a minute and change to play, but Cooper stopped Brandon Bergado to give his team a chance. The Dogs would seal the deal with an empty netter as Darren Rizzolo stopped the Express from entering the Dogs zone, and dug it loose for Keaton Mastrodonato. He would unselfishly dish off to Ryan Steele from just outside the Express line, and he made no mistake to make it 5-3 at 19:36 of the third to complete the scoring.
Third period shots were even at 11-11, for a game total in the Dogs favour of 43-30. John Hawthorne picked up his first career win in net in his first start, while Reid Cooper took the loss. The Dogs went 0 for 1 on the power play while the Express went 1 for 3.
The Dogs are next in action Thursday at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack when they meet the Vernon Vipers.