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Saturday, February 24, 2018

*UPDATED with Video* Dogs top Kings 5-4 in wildly entertaining affair

The Bulldogs got off to an inspired start, and had a great chance to open the scoring inside the first two minutes when the puck was put on net by Jackson Doucet and stopped by Alex Rolfe, but it sat between his legs on the goal line and stayed out through a frantic scramble. The Bulldogs were called for Interference a minute later at the attacking blue line, but killed it off to keep it scoreless. They would have a dangerous offensive look of their own on a 2 on 1 rush. The Bulldogs would open the scoring just a minute and change later on the rush, as Sami Pharaon flipped the puck to centre ice up the left wing from deep in the Dogs zone. Jackson Doucet would find it off traffic, before putting a rink-wide pass to Keaton Mastrodonato in full flight over the Kings line up the right wing. He walked in to the right circle where he out-waited Rolfe to pick the top corner, far-side with a perfect shot over the glove and under the bar at 4:42 of the first. The Bulldogs kept pushing, and had a couple near misses on the rush with Pearce Messer just missing on a breakaway followed by Rolfe stopping Mastrodonato on a partial breakaway. The Kings responded and came close to tying the game on the power play later in the period, but Hawthorne came up with a couple good saves to protect the lead. Shots were 13-11 Kings after 20 minutes.

The second period started with shenanigans, and they were fairly prevalent throughout the frame. Kevin Obsuuth got into it with Cole Poliziani behind the Dogs net just 30 seconds in, and appeared to draw an initial penalty for throwing a punch, before Poliziani was sent to the box for retaliating. A minute later, Tyler Vanuden was called for boarding on a hit in the Kings zone. As he was defenceless on his knees following the hit, he was hammered from behind in retaliation after the whistle. No retaliation penalty was called. Adding insult to injury, the boarding penalty was changed to a checking from behind penalty in the time it took the Referee to get to the penalty box, resulting in Vanuden being ejected from the game. And even up call went against the Kings for hooking early in their power play, resulting in a four-aside situation. The Bulldogs cashed in on a short power play following it, with one of the prettier goals of the season. Julian Benner started it with a hard pass back to the right point for Sami Pharaon. He returned it to Benner at the right half wall, where he passed to the slot to Cole Poliziani. He one-touched it to the goal line at the right side of the net for Paul Selleck, who put a perfect cross-ice feed back door onto the tape of a wide open Mitch Oliver, who slid it into the open net to make it 2-0 at 4:14 of the second. Later in the period, an extended dust up broke out at the side of the Dogs net, that extended behind it resulting in Kevin Obssuth throwing a series of sucker punches on Grayson Valente - I believe at least four of them, while Valente didn't appear to throw any. The calls would be even throughout the skirmish as the teams remained five aside. There would be no scoring throughout the remainder of the period, and thankfully no further incidents. Shots in the frame were 10-9 Kings, for a 23-20 in their favour after two.

The third period began with a bang, as the Dogs drew a penalty and then promptly conceded a breakaway off the draw as Carter Turnbull chased down a flip to skate in alone on Hawthorne, who stuck with him to make a pad save. The Dogs still couldn't get back, as Ethan Kimball found the puck in the right corner and threw it to the top of the crease where Turnbull tipped it home five-hole to make it 2-1 at 1:54 of the third. The Bulldogs failed to score on the power play, but did find the net a handful of seconds later as Christian Simeone put a rink-wide pass onto the tape of Jackson Doucet in the right circle. He would feed it back to the right point for Sami Pharaon, who put a shot that had eyes long-side past the glove of Rolfe to make it 3-1 at 3:52 of the third. A Bulldog penalty less than a minute later put the Kings on the power play, but they were quickly taken off of it as Neal Samanski was called for hooking on Mitch Oliver. Ben Berard would then pick up a misconduct crossing in front of the Official, that quickly turned into an ejection. The Kings didn't quit, and made it a 3-2 game when John Hawthorne made a great first save on an odd-man rush off Ethan Kimball, but he got his own rebound and jammed it inside the post at 8:25 of the third, with Ben Thomas also assisting. It was a tied game on a power play as Carmine Buono one-timed an Andy Stevens pass from the right point at the net that was deflected home by Neal Samanski at the top of the crease to make it 3-3 at 10:42 of the third.  The teams traded opportunities through the next few minutes, with the Bulldogs getting the go-ahead goal as Christian Simeone took a Cole Poliziani pass and walked through a couple of Kings and in alone on Alex Rolfe, who he appeared to have down an out in the crease, but he couldn't get around James Orban in front of him. The puck would slide back to the deep slot for Spencer Hora, who made no mistake with a quick release top corner, glove side as Rolfe hadn't yet recovered to make it 4-3 at 16:07 of the third. The Dogs did a good job to defend to the final minute and change where the got some insurance as James Orban fought the puck ahead to Grayson Valente at centre ice. He would be checked, but Cole Poliziani found it at the Kings line to float it into the empty net to make it 5-3 at 18:38 of the third. The Kings didn't quit, as they pulled their goalie again and make it 5-4 with 34 seconds to play as a no-look spinorama was thrown at the net from the top of the left circle by Ben Thomas, where Carter Turnbull deflected it through Hawthorne with Kyle Kawamura also assisting. The Kings called time out, and again got their goalie out but the Dogs did well to defend and didn't give up an opportunity before clearing their zone. Cole Poliziani would hit the empty net, but I think the Officials made the correct call in waving it off as it appeared half a second late as it stayed a 5-4 final.

Shots in the third were 16-10 Kings, for a game total of 39-30 in their favour with John Hawthorne picking up the win while Alex Rolfe took the loss. The Dogs went 1 for 4 on the power play while the Kings went 1 for 6, while also scoring once while shorthanded.

With the win, the Dogs snap a seven game losing streak. With the loss, the Kings have lost back to back games, and won't be able to chase down the Grizzlies for 1st place in the Island Division.

The teams meet again tomorrow afternoon to conclude the regular season.



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