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Friday, March 09, 2018

Grizzlies force Game six with 5-1 win

The game had fantastic flow early, with no whistles beyond the first few seconds through the following three minutes. The next stoppage was when the Grizzlies opened the scoring, as they attacked on transition on the rush when Alex Newhook send Jamie Rome up the left wing where he snapped a shot short-side past the blocker of John Hawthorne to make it 1-0 at 3:34 of the first. Also drawing an assist on the play was Trevor Nolan. The Grizzlies continued to push as the Bulldogs didn't respond well to the goal against, as Ethan Nother found a rebound in front after a great first save seconds earlier by Hawthorne that he put home to double the lead, with assists going to Carter Berger and Justin Michaelian at 5:20 of the first. The Bulldog response this time was fantastic, as they spent the next couple of minutes generating a couple Grade A chances. Frustratingly, they couldn't capitalize on them as Dawson Tritt set up Keaton Mastrodonato on a 2 on 1 but he couldn't hit an open net past a diving Chapman. The Grizzlies drew a power play almost immediately afterwards, but the Dogs came up with a big kill to keep it a two-goal game. The Dogs kept pushing, as Cole Poliziani set up James Orban in the slot, but Chapman made a nice shoulder save. Later, Michael Sacco was set up in alone in the slot by Julian Benner, but Chapman came up with a big pad stop. The Bulldogs earned their first power play of the game later in the period, and threatened on it, with a crazy scramble off a slap pass by Tyler Vanuden being stopped, and two rebound bids failed to find the net. The Bulldogs put four pucks on goal, but couldn't trim the gap. The Grizzlies would score somewhat against the flow just 30 seconds later, on a somewhat broken play as a loose puck ended up at the side of the crease where Alex Newhook one-timed it home short-side to make it 3-0 at 16:54 from Matt Doran and Carter Berger. Shots in the first were 11-10 Grizzlies, with a large scale dust-up at the end of the period seeing a series of sticks and slashes and spears resulting in the Dogs getting the extra penalty.

The second period as a result began with four-aside hockey, followed by a short Victoria power play that the Bulldogs killed off. A Bulldog power play came about later in the period after the Grizzlies were called just two seconds into their man advantage as Shawn O'Malley wrapped his stick around the head of the opposing Bulldog centreman on the draw. The Bulldogs again looked good on the power play, but couldn't cash in, coming painfully close when Cole Poliziani beat Chapman but it hit the post and stayed out. The Dogs kept pushing throughout the period, and finally cashed in on a power play chance with one second left in it as Michael Sacco fed Mitch Oliver at the top of the point and he showed good patience while sliding left before firing a wrister on goal that was deflected home by Christian Simeone from the slide of the crease to make it 3-1 at 18:35 of the second. The critical shift after the goal was dreadful, as Jamie Rome walked un-checked up the left wing and across the blue line before sliding a pass down low to Carter Berger, who put a perfect cross-crease pass onto the tape of Alex Newhook who fired it into the open side for his second of the game just 41 seconds later to make it 4-1 at 19:06 of the second. Shots in the period were 12-7.

The Bulldogs began the third period with a jump that grew as the minutes wore on, but despite several fantastic chances the score stayed the same as Kurtis Chapman came up with a couple great saves on the doorstep, with some extra help added by his defence as he misplayed a dump in that was stolen by Tyler Vanuden who attempted to wrap it into the open side but was stopped. The Bulldogs kept pressing, but to no avail as they had more than a handful of opportunities and rebounds around Chapman but either couldn't get a bounce, or the Grizzlies defended well. There was no scoring throughout the period until the final seconds of it as Drayson Pears cleared the puck out of his zone up the right wing for Justin Michaelian. He gained the Dogs zone and had his first pass blocked but got a second crack at it that he made good on to find Lach Hadley down the left wing where he snuck a shot through the arm of Hawthorne to make it 5-1 at 19:36 of the third to complete the scoring.

Third period shots were 12-6 Bulldogs, for a game total of 34-24 of their favour. Kurtis Chapman earned third star honours with the win while John Hawthorne took the loss. The Dogs went 1 for 6 on the power play while the Grizzlies went 0 for 5.

With the win, the Grizzlies have forced a Game six tomorrow night at the Multiplex.



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