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Sunday, March 04, 2018

UPDATED with VIDEO - Dogs do it again, top Grizzlies 5-4 overtime for 2-0 series lead

The Grizzlies pushed immediately off the opening puck drop, keeping the Bulldogs in their zone for the first 45 seconds of the game. While the Bulldogs didn't give up anything, they were on their heels, and it was 1-0 immediately afterwards when Dayne Finnson made a nice move to make one defender miss to walk untouched into the hashmarks where he beat Hawthorne glove side. Assists on the play went to Ryan Nolan and Drayson Pears at 1:04 of the first. The Bulldogs continued to chase the game, and were penalized just three and a half minutes in. The Grizzlies had a couple dangerous looks around the Bulldog net, but couldn't cash in on them. The Bulldogs countered, as Julian Benner did a good job to chase down a rim on the far wall in the Grizzlies zone to poke it past a defender. He would again chase it down to create a down-low 2 on 1 that he executed perfectly with a cross-ice pass onto the tape of Michael Sacco off the left post that he one-timed home short-side past Zach Rose to tie it at 1-1 at 7:32 of the first. The Grizzlies would take the lead back five minutes later, as the Dogs failed to get the puck out of their zone on several occasions. Justin Michaelian would have a step to the net up the right side where he fought off a stick to make a perfect cross-crease feed onto the tape of Shawn O'Malley, who fired it into the open side to make it 2-1 Grizzlies at 12:41 of the first. The Bulldogs again refused to go away, pushing the pace and drawing a penalty with under four to play in the first. It would turn into a 5 on 3 of 1:29 in duration on a charging penalty to Drayson Pears, as he left his feet to hit Cole Poliziani behind the Victoria net. The two man advantage didn't last long, as after hitting the crossbar on the initial set up Mitch Oliver made no mistake on his second opportunity as Julian Benner gained the zone up the right wing and flipped it back to the left point for Darren Rizzolo. He would dish off to Oliver on the right side and take a return pass on the switch up before putting a perfect pass to Oliver at the top of the left circle where he blew a one-timer short-side off the paddle of Rose and in to tie the game at 2-2 at 17:21 of the first. The Dogs pressed on the remaining power play time, but couldn't get the go-ahead marker.  Shots in the period were 13-11 Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs got off to a much better start to the second, and had an edge in the play through the early minutes of the period, running up a shots on goal edge with a couple solid chances that Zach Rose came up with good saves on. The Grizzlies pushed on a good shift near the midway point of the period, but the Bulldogs didn't give up much in defending their zone. The Bulldogs were penalized with seven minutes to play in the period, but killed it off effectively with several instances of sticks in passing lanes clearing the zone and won battles down low resulting in killing off crucial time. The Bulldogs had a couple great chances late in the period, with Julian Benner hitting the crossbar and Jackson Doucet just missing the target on a pretty Dawson Tritt set up. In the end, neither team could find the net as the teams went into the third period for a second straight game tied at 2-2. Shots in the period were 16-13 Grizzlies, for a 29-25 advantage for the Grizzlies after 40 minutes.

The Bulldogs once again came out with a passionate push to begin the third, but couldn't get the go ahead marker with Rose coming up with a couple good saves. They would kill off a penalty again not giving up much within the first two minutes of the period, and again pushed back with good pressure in the Victoria end. The Bulldogs were penalized again four minutes later, after it looked like they might have drawn a penalty themselves. The Grizzlies would cash in on it this time, as a long battle was won in the far corner resulting in the puck ending up on the stick of Jamie Rome at the top of the left circle, where he beat a screened Hawthorne long-side to make it 3-2 Grizzlies at 7:52 of the third, with assists going to TJ Friedmann and Dayne Finnson drawing the assists. Once again, the Dogs didn't go away as they pushed right back with a great shift following the goal and didn't show any signs of sitting back. They would tie the game after drawing a penalty shot less than two minutes later, as Cole Poliziani was taken down by Nico Somerville on a breakaway. He would make no mistake with a rediculously silky move in tight, going to his backhand and roofing it short-side high over the blocker of Rose to tie it at 3-3 at 9:28 of the third. The teams traded chances over the following minutes, and the Grizzlies took the lead back with less than four minutes to play when Carter Berger put a shot at the goal from the top of the left circle that changed direction before just sneaking over the line. Justin Michaelian got credit for it, with TJ Friedmann also drawing an assist at 16:33 of the third. Once again, the Dogs answered as they pulled their goalie for the extra attacker with just under two minutes to play and a faceoff in the Victoria zone. The first draw was won but a shot was deflected out of play. The second draw was won by Michael Sacco, where it was tapped back to the line by Keaton Mastrodonato to Mitch Oliver at the left point. He would throw a quick wrister at the goal, where it was deflected by Sacco and stopped by Rose. Sacco would find his own rebound and pot it into the open net to tie the game at 4-4 at 18:37 of the third. Shots in the third were 17-14 Grizzlies, for a 60 minute total of 46-39 Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies had the first initial push in overtime, with the Bulldogs countering with an opportunity of their own on the next shift. The Grizzlies would have two Grade A chances to win it short of three minutes in, with John Hawthorne making a pad save on a deflection, and a rebound save following it off of Justin Michaelian at the side of the net. The Dogs would win it a minute later, with Spencer Hora making a fantastic play on one-on-one defence against Drayson Pears to tap the puck up the left wing for Julian Benner. He gained the attacking zone and delayed before finding Mitch Oliver walking up the middle of the slot untouched where he deked and had Rose down and out at his mercy before walking around him and sliding it home for the game winner and a crazy celebration in front of the Bulldog faithful at 3:56 of overtime.

Shots in overtime were 6-3 Grizzlies, for a game total in their favour of 52-42. John Hawthorne earned the win, while Zach Rose took the loss. The Bulldogs went 1 for 3 on the power play, while the Grizzlies went 1 for 4.

With the win, the Dogs take a 2-0 series lead back to the Dog Pound for Games 3 and 4 Tuesday and Wednesday.



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