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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Wild top Dogs 5-1

The game had a fast pace through the first couple of minutes, and good atmosphere. The Wild took a 1-0 lead just over two and a half minutes in when a Sam Morton shot from the right circle was stopped by John Hawthorne, but the rebound went off his blocker and skyward where it fell behind him and bounced over the line. I couldn't tell from my angle whether it was in or not - but the Bulldogs visibly argued that it didn't go in. The Referee was well positioned behind the goal to make the call. Morton got credit for it, with the lone assist to Nathan Iannone at 2:37 of the first. The Wild on at least two sequences spent a long time in the attacking zone, with the Bulldogs bending but not breaking to keep it a one-goal game after 20 minutes. John Hawthorne made one solid save that stood out, on a one-time bid by AJ Vanderbeck from the deep slot. Shots were 11-3 Wild.

The Wild began the second on the power play, but the Dogs killed it off and didn't give up anything. The Bulldogs then earned back to back power play chances, and didn't look good on either as the Wild hounded them in their zone. A third straight penalty would be one too many, as the Dogs finally connected on an end to end rush as John Hawthorne stopped a dump in behind his net for Michael Sacco. He would defer possession to Keaton Mastrodonato, who went end to end up the middle through centre and made two Wild defenders miss before gaining the Wild zone up the right wing. He would skate into the right circle and put a perfectly placed top corner, short-side high shot over the glove of Seth Eisle to make it 1-1 at 8:16 of the second. The goal ignited the crowd, and the Bulldogs pushed hard with the momentum and earned a couple good chances on the rush and in around the Wild net, but they couldn't take the lead. The Wild would counter, on a quick bang-bang play from behind the goal line that was August Von Ungern make a perfect pass to the hashmarks for Sam Morton, who one-timed it past the glove of Hawthorne far-side to make it 2-1 at 10:54 of the period, with Nathan Iannone also drawing an assist. The Dogs would get caught running around late in the period in their zone when they turned the puck over at their line, but Hawthorne came up with a series of saves to keep it a one-goal game. The Dogs would come up with a big kill on a Wild power play that followed it to keep it 2-1 after 40 minutes. Shots in the period were 16-8 Wild, for a 27-11 advantage.

The Bulldogs had a great chance early in the third to tie it, but Eisle made a stop on a deflection at the side of the net with his shoulder. A minute and change later, it was 3-1 as the Dogs turned it over in their zone allowing Nathan Iannone to walk in alone on Hawthorne, who made a great first save, and a rebound save, but Sam Morton stuck with it to lift another crack at it over Hawthorne's glove to make it 3-1 at 7:37 of the third, with August Von Ungern drawing the only assist. The Bulldogs would come painfully close to making it a one-goal game, as Christian Simeone was sent in alone and deked out Eisle but couldn't tuck it in. Neither could Carter Harris, as the rebound sat at the side of the open net. The Wild would get all the insurance they needed with just under five minutes to play as Cooper Zech picked a puck off at centre ice and attacked the Dogs zone before feeding it to the slot for Nathan Iannone. He would put a shot high off the end glass, but it bounced cross-ice and out front for Sam Morton, who caught it, dropped it and fired it home before Hawthorne could recover to make it 4-1 at 15:05 of the third. August Von Ungern drew the only assist. The Wild would be penalized twice late in the third - initially for too many men. The Bulldogs would pull their goalie for the rare 6 on 3 situation and had a couple good looks, most notably a back door set up for Cole Poliziani but Eisle came up with a big save to preserve the cushion. Off the next draw the Wild would block a shot, and then hit the empty net on a banker from their own zone by Jasper Weatherby to complete the scoring with no assists at 19:25 of the third.

Final shots were 38-21 Wild, with Seth Eisle earning the win while John Hawthorne took the loss but earned 3rd star honours. The Dogs went 1 for 8 on the power play while the Wild went 0 for 4 while scoring once while shorthanded.

The Bulldogs are next in action Monday in Powell River, as they visit the Kings for a 2:00pm Matinee on Family Day.



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