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Friday, March 02, 2018

UPDATED WITH VIDEO - Dogs top Grizzlies 5-4 in overtime to take 1-0 series lead

The Bulldogs got off to a fantastic start, getting a couple pucks on net in the first 30 seconds of the game to test Zach Rose. The Bulldogs attacked off the ensuing draw and looked to have something going initially but Jackson Doucet took a high blindside hit from Ryan Nolan that went un-called as the Grizzlies exited the zone. As they entered the Dogs zone, Doucet would be called by the Referee a zone away for slashing on Alex Newhook. The Dogs did a fantastic job of killing it off, not allowing a single shot. They were once again penalized just a minute and a half later, but once again killed it off without allowing a shot. They were certainly on their heels however, as the Grizzlies continued to push and opened the scoring at the midway point of the period as the Bulldogs turned the puck over at the Victoria line and the Grizzlies countered on the rush. Matt Dorran would gain the line and throw the puck at the net where it appeared to be deflected off a leg of TJ Friedmann in the paint to make it 1-0 at 9:56 of the first with Justin Michaelian also drawing an assist on the play. The Grizzlies kept pushing, although the Dogs did a relatively good job of not giving up Grade A chances. The Bulldogs were penalized a third time in the period with three minutes to go, but John Hawthorne came up with a big save in tight to keep it a 1-0 game after 20 minutes, with the Bulldogs killing off the penalty before threatening in the dying seconds with both Julian Benner and Keaton Mastrodonato having great chances in tight that they couldn't convert on with Benner hitting the post and Mastrodonato missing the net. Shots were 12-4 Grizzlies after one.

The Bulldogs once again came out flying to start the second, having two great chances in the first half minute. They continued to have an edge through the opening minutes of the period, but couldn't even the score. They would then shoot themselves in the foot to fall into a 2-0 hole, as with nothing but time in their end they coughed it up to the hashmarks for Justin Michaelian, who beat Hawthorne with a quick release, high far-side past his blocker at 5:12 of the second. The Bulldogs pushed back hard over the crucial following minutes, and made it a 2-1 game seconds after missing a glorious chance in front as Sami Pharaon put the puck to centre ice up the right wing where it eluded Dayne Finnson. Keaton Mastrodonato found it, and tapped it to Dawson Tritt over the Grizzlies line up the right wing on a partial breakaway where he made no mistake for his first career goal with a perfectly placed quick release under the bar short-side over the glove of Rose at 8:01 of the second. Just 2:46 later, it was a 2-2 game as the Dogs again struck on the rush as Isaac Tonkin-Palmer took a pass at the Grizzlies line up the right wing from Michael Sacco. He would snap a low shot short-side that went off the stick of Rose and high in the air back to the slot. Mitch Oliver would find it and fire it inside the post far-side at 10:47 of the second. The Bulldogs pushed hard throughout the remainder of the period, earning their first power play and a second opportunity during it resulting in a 5 on 3 for 37 seconds in duration. They threatened, but Zach Rose was fantastic to keep the game tied. The Bulldogs earned another power play with less than two minutes to play in the frame and again had a couple near misses around the net as it remained tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes. Shots in the period were 20-14 Bulldogs, for a 26-24 advantage for the Grizzlies after two.

The Bulldogs again came out hard to start the third, and tested Rose a handful of times in the first two minutes. The Grizzlies responded took the lead back before the third was four minutes old, as the Dogs lost coverage in front of the net as Drayson Pears pinched in and carried the puck below the goal line and put a pass to the top of the crease to a wide open Cameron Thompson, who one-timed it high over Hawthorne to make it 3-2, with Dayne Finnson also drawing an assist at 3:28 of the third. The Bulldogs once again responded well to the goal against, drawing a penalty and capitalizing on it to tie the game as Tyler Vanuden found Julian Benner below the goal line at the right side of the net, where he made a perfect pass to the deep slot to Cole Poliziani, who beat Rose with a quick release far-side past his blocker to make it 3-3 at 7:53 of the third. It wasn't tied for long however, as the Grizzlies took the lead right back just 50 seconds later on a quick transition from a draw in their zone as quick pass was found by Justin Michaelian up the left wing over the Bulldog line. He would make a perfect cross-ice pass onto the tape of TJ Friedmann, who just snuck it in off the blocker of Hawthorne with Dayne Finnson also drawing an assist at 8:47 of the third. The Grizzlies pushed right back on the next shift, with Hawthorne coming up with a huge save in the paint to keep it a one-goal game. The Bulldogs refused to go away, and were rewarded for an extended attacking zone shift with several won battles and keeps at the line resulting in the equalizer as Darren Rizzolo kept the puck in at the left point and went across the line to Sami Pharaon. He put a quick shot on goal that was initially stopped by Rose, but Michael Sacco found the rebound at the far side of the crease and slid it home to make it 4-4 at 14:19 of the third. The Grizzlies were awarded a power play with under five minutes as Justian Michaelian was hooked on a partial breakaway that saw Hawthorne make a great follow up save with his right toe on TJ Friedmann. The Bulldogs again killed it off and didn't give up much. The Dogs pushed hard into the final minute, and had a great chance at the side of the goal with Rose down and out, only to have a Mitch Oliver shot hit him and stay out as the game went to overtime. Third period shots were 12-12 for a 60 minute total of 38-36 Grizzlies.

Overtime ended suddenly, as the Bulldogs ended it just 1:09 in as Darren Rizzolo made a great play to avoid traffic below the Dogs goal line to keep possession while avoiding a check. He would make a long pass to to the Victoria side of centre ice to Christian Simeone. He immediately dished off to the left side of centre to Cole Poliziani in full flight over the Victoria line. He would walk in to the top of the left circle where he unleashed a lazer top corner, far-side over the glove of Rose for the game winner to send his teammates off the bench for a wild celebration.

Overtime shots were 1-0 Bulldogs, for a game total of 38-37 Grizzlies with John Hawthorne picking up the win while Zach Rose took the loss. The Dogs went 1 for 4 on the power play while the Grizzlies 0 for 4.

Game two goes Sunday at 2:00pm at the Q Centre.


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