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Tuesday, March 06, 2018

UPDATED with VIDEO - Bulldogs take 3-0 series lead with 3-2 overtime win over Grizzlies

A mirror image start to the hockey game from Game two, as the Grizzlies had immediate pressure in the opening minute hemming the Dogs in their zone. The difference being that the Bulldogs bent and didn't break in allowing an early goal. The Bulldogs pushed back over the following minutes, testing Kurtis Chapman in the Victoria net but being unable to beat him. Each team would have their chances throughout the period, the best of which being a Keaton Mastrodonato breakaway seven minutes in, but Chapman appeared to just get a piece of it with his glove to keep it out. The Bulldogs earned the first power play of the game in the late minutes of the first and generated a couple solid chances, but couldn't get a bounce. They would earn a second power play in the final minute of the period as Jamie Rome finished his check, but took the Bulldog defender into John Hawthorne to earn a roughing call. Shots in the first were 13-11 Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs began the second period on the power play, but couldn't connect on it despite a couple of good looks. The Grizzlies would counter and open the scoring on a off-speed wrister from the left point that was deflected past John Hawthorne by Marty Westhaver in the deep slot. Assists on the play went to Dayne Finnson and Drayson Pears at 4:48 of the second. The Bulldogs took a bench minor for too-many-men on the following shift, and the Grizzlies threatened on the power play but the penalty killers and John Hawthorne stood tall to keep it a one-goal game. That would prove huge just two minutes later, as the Bulldogs found the equalizer when Michael Sacco won a draw in the Dogs end that was banked off the glass up the left wing by Darren Rizzolo. Julian Benner would find it in full flight and have a partial step from a sharp angle where he threw a high shot on goal that hit the shaft of Chapman's stick short-side and bounced up in the air rink wide across the crease where it was carried over the line by a back-checking Grizzlies defender and over the line to tie it at 1-1. Assists on the play went to Darren Rizzolo and Spencer Hora at 8:37 of the second. The Grizzlies continued to have momentum, and spent the better part of the period on the attack in the Dogs zone but couldn't get the insurance marker as John Hawthorne was razor sharp, coming up with a handful of big saves, the most notable coming on Cameron Thompson in the slot with eight minutes to play in the period, and on Finn Withy three minutes later to keep it tied at 1-1 after 40 minutes. Shots in the period were 21-7 Grizzlies, for a 32-20 advantage after two periods.

The third period began with the tension obviously high, with the Bulldogs showing an improved jump to their step. They would take their first lead of the game - and in fact the SERIES, just over five minutes into the period when Paul Selleck collected a headman pass up the left wing from Cole Poliziani that he carried over the line into the top of the left circle that he ripped short-side past the blocker of Chapman to make it 2-1 with Sami Pharaon also drawing the assist at 5:15 of the third. The Bulldogs pushed throughout the period and had several good opportunities, the most notable seeing Champan make a great save on a backdoor one-timer on Luc Salem with eight minutes gone in the period. Emotions ran incredibly high later in the period, with the Bulldogs appearing to ice the puck but it was waved off. The Grizzlies bench would protest vociferously, and over the line in the Referees opinion as they picked up a bench minor. A follow up opportunity later saw them penalized resulting in a 5 on 3 for the Bulldogs of 1:32 in duration and the ejection of the Grizzlies Head Coach. The Bulldogs came painfully close on the opportunity, as Jackson Doucet beat Chapman but not the post, as it stayed 2-1. The Bulldogs again were given two power play opportunities in the final four minutes, but looked completely out of sorts, no doubt due to being without their top two defenceman, and the weight of the situation. They showed considerable panic with the puck into the final minute of play, as the Grizzlies pressed while down a man and tied the game at 2-2 with 50 seconds to play as a centering pass was found by Matt Doran, who ripped a shot high over the glove of Hawthorne at 19:10 of the third. The Grizzlies killed off the remaining seconds of the penalty, and came incredibly close to getting the game winner in the final seconds as Hawthorne came up with a desperation pad save in front on a one-timer centering pass to force the game to overtime. Third period shots 13-12 Bulldogs, for a 60 minute total of 44-33 Grizzlies

The Grizzlies had good pressure to start overtime, but the Bulldogs had the best chance on the counter as Julian Benner blew by a defender in alone where he was stopped by Chapman. Seconds later at the other end, Carter Berger went through everyone and in alone where Hawthorne came up with a game saver of his own. The Bulldogs pushed back and had a fantastic chance to win it as Christian Simeone chased a Sami Pharaon flip up the right wing off a won faceoff and stole it in the Grizzlies zone from Carter Berger. He walked it behind the net and put it out front for Paul Selleck, who again beat Chapman but rang the puck off the crossbar eight minutes into overtime. The Bulldogs continued to push, and got the game winner on a rush from their own end started by a nice defensive play in his own zone by Christian Simeone to win a race and chip it up the wall past a defender. He would have the wherewithal to immediately chase it down up the left wing to create a 3 on 2 rush that he carried over the line before dishing off rink-wide for Cole Poliziani up the right side. He made a perfect pass to the top of the crease for Michael Sacco, who beat his man to the net to deflect the cross-ice feed past Chapman to set off an only in the Dog Pound celebration for the 3-2 final score.

Overtime shots were 10-5 Grizzlies, for a game total in their favour of 54-38. John Hawthorne picked up the win while earning 1st star honours while Kurtis Chapman earned 3rd star honours while taking the loss.

With the win, the Bulldogs lead the sereis 3-0. Game four goes tomorrow night at the Multiplex.



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