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Sunday, October 01, 2017

Dogs top Rivermen 4-3 in OT

From the opening puck drop, the game was played with a physical edge as each team took the body, led by the Rivermen with a hard hit on the forecheck just seconds into the game. The pace was high and end to end, but then slowed when the Dogs were penalized for holding the stick in the attacking zone. They would successfully kill it, but couldn't push at the other end to gain momentum before being penalized again, but they again successfully killed it off. In the late stages of the period John Hawthorne made a good save on a one-timer set up to the slot for Trevor Ayre. The Bulldogs would respond to open the scoring with less than three minutes to play in the period when Paul Selleck threw the puck to the slot in the Dogs zone for Connor Welsh, who head-manned it for Brandon Bergado to create a 3 on 1 rush up the right side. Bergado would keep the puck all the way and then snap one home short-side inside the post glove side on Chad Cromar to make it 1-0 at 17:44 of the first. The Dogs earned a power play on the next whistle on a big dust up at the Bulldog net, and while they looked really good on it for half a minute, they took another penalty to cancel their advantage out. During 4-on-4 hockey Darren Rizzolo lost the puck when he walked across the Langley zone and took a series of slashes. A breakaway would result for Daneel Lategan, but Hawthorne stared him down and made not only the first save, but a rebound chance as well with his left pad. The Bulldogs would be penalized again when play continued, putting them down another man when the second period started.

Shots in the first were 13-9 Langley.

The Bulldogs kill stood tall to start the second, killing off the 38 second two-man advantage by Langley with a couple good saves made by John Hawthorne. Another good Hawthorne save on a 2 on 1 rush with his left toe a minute and change later kept it a 1-0 game. The Dogs would earn a power play later in the first half of the period, and after two or three great chances in front were kept out by Cromar, they found the net to double their lead when Jackson Doucet fed the puck to the top of the point to Mitch Oliver. He would get a quick release on goal that was deflected home through Cromar by Keaton Mastrodonato to make it 2-0 at 6:33 of the second. On the next whistle, the Dogs were penalized, but they again killed it off. The Rivermen pushed and won a series of faceoffs in the Dogs end and were rewarded for it with a rink wide pass thrown on net by Sean Gulka that hit the post before sitting in the crease where it was battled home by Nicholas Ponak at 8:27 of the second. The Bulldogs earned a power play two minutes later, but the Rivermen did a good job of killing it off. Another Bulldog power play late in the period was four minutes in duration after Ryan Steele was cut by a Langley high stick. The Dogs didn't score on the first half of it, but threatened. Another high stick on a face off made it a 5 on 3 power play, and they didn't take long to capitalize on it as Connor Welsh returned a Mitch Oliver pass to him at the top of the slot where he once again put a quick release on net that beat Cromar low blocker-side to make it 3-1 at 19:27 of the second, with Jackson Doucet also assisting.

Shots in the period were 14-12 Langley, for a 27-21 Rivermen lead after two. 

The Dogs began the third period on the power play, but couldn't cash in on it. They would go back to the power play after a warning to the Langley bench wasn't heeded, and a Bench Minor was handed out. The Dogs couldn't again cash in on it before taking a penalty that led to a major dust up and a long delay and a huge list of penalties. The Rivermen would immediately make it 3-2 on a controversial goal as a puck was thrown on net from the left side that was stopped by Hawthorne, but it went up high in the air and over the crossbar. Ethan Leyh would cross behind the net and from the opposite post bat it in out of the air. I thought it was a high stick, but a well-positioned Referee immediately signaled goal. The only assist on the play went to Trevor Ayre. The Rivermen would gai momentum, and pushed for an extended period and finally got a bounce to tie it up when Spencer Berry threw the puck to the crease from the bottom of the left circle where it appeared to go off a Bulldog forward and in. Trevor St. Jean drew the first assist, and John Wojciechowski at 9:41 of the third. Langley would have an immediate chance to get the go-ahead marker, but Hawthorne kept his left pad down on the ice to stop a Trevor Ayre stuff-in attempt to keep it out. The Dogs would get their feet underneath them and push back, but couldn't find the net. They would then be penalized with four minutes to play, but came up with a  big kill before drawing a penalty of their own. Neither team found the net the rest of the way as the game went to sudden death overtime. Third period shots were 17-11 Bulldogs, for a 39-38 lead after 60 minutes.

The Rivermen had initial possession and a push to start OT, but the Dogs answered with a great first chance on a Cayden Kraus rush. They would end the game on the next shift when a faceoff win was put up the middle for Ryan Steele by Mitch Oliver. He would race up the left wing over the Langley line into the left circle where he snapped a shot on goal that was stopped by Cromar, but the rebound flew off his left pad and cross-ice onto the body of Brandon Bergado - who had beat his man to the net - and into the open side before Bergado was taken into the net by the Langley defender. The Referee was in position, and immdiately called it a goal. After a short conference between all four Officials at centre ice the call stood, for a 4-3 final at 2:53 of overtime.

Shots in overtime were 4-1 Bulldogs, for a game total of 43-39 Dogs. John Hawthorne picked up 1st star honours with the win, while Chad Cromar was named 3rd star in a losing effort. The Dogs were - unofficially 2 for 9 on the power play while Langley went 0 for 7.

The Dogs are next in action Friday in Nanaimo.


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