The Bulldogs got off to a solid opening shift with a couple pucks at the net and a solid hit thrown by Spencer Hora. They would soon afterwards end up in the penalty box - and then spend the better part of the period in it. You could argue a couple were borderline, and that a couple were needless, and that a couple were perhaps missed on the other side of the puck. The bottom line is control what you can control, and for the most part the Bulldogs did that as they killed off the initial penalty two minutes in without giving up much. They took a subsequent minor that I didn't see five minutes later, with Grizzlies netminder Kurtis Chapman drawing contact on a Bulldog forward and going down. The Bulldogs were then once again penalized just 27 seconds into the kill when Issac Tonkin-Palmer and Alex Newhook got tied up with each other off a draw and both went down and Tonkin-Palmer was deemed to be the guilty party. The Bulldogs killed off the 93 second two-man advantage for the Grizzlies, with a couple solid saves by Hawthorne, but seconds after the penalty elapsed the Grizzlies found the net as a Nico Somerville wrist shot from the deep slot appeared to change direction before beating Hawthorne past his glove. Assists on the play went to Alex Campbell and Marty Westhaver at 9:45 of the first. The Bulldogs took another penalty late in the period, before finally drawing one. They wouldn't earn a power play chance though, as a late arm went up for an excuse-me-trip as the Grizzlies went to a 4 on 3 power play with Hawthorne again making a series of good saves to keep it a 1-0 score after 20 minutes. Shots in the first were 15-4 Grizzlies.
The Bulldogs got off to an inspired start in the second, finally getting a chance to play some five-on-five hockey. They would find themselves in a 2-0 hole before they could build on any momentum, as a giveaway up the wall was thrown at the net off a stick and retrieved off the goal line by Alex Campbell, who just managed to tuck it in before Hawthorne could get back to the goal line. Assists on the play went to Cole Noble and Brady MacDonald at 2:23 of the second. The Bulldogs showed some moments of pushing to get back into it over the next ten minutes, with a dangerous looking scramble around Chapman failing to find the net. The Bulldogs were whistled for a double-minor for high-sticking in the back-half of the period, and they made it count as Alex Campbell put a perfectly placed shot past a defender from inside the right circle top corner, short-side on Hawthorne to make it 3-0 at 14:30 of the second, from Jordan Guiney and Charlie Campbell. A minute and twenty-seven seconds later, and still on the power play, it was 4-0 as Alex Campbell completed the natural hat trick on a scramble as a shot was blocked and went skyward were Charlie Campbell gloved it down and threw it to the crease where Alex Campbell jammed it home at 15:57 of the second. Shots in the period were 13-11 Victoria, for a 28-15 Grizzlies lead after 40 minutes.
The third period saw the Bulldogs promptly fall into a deeper hole, as just 1:33 into it an errant pass off a Bulldog stick ended up on the tape of Brady MacDonald at the right point. He would simply throw a high shot at goal through traffic, that beat Hawthorne high short-side. The goal appeared to be un-assisted, but both Nico Somerville and Darwin Lakokuk were awarded helpers on it. The Bulldogs took a penalty just a minute later, with the teams trading minors up to the midway point of the period. The Bulldogs finally gave the fans something to cheer about with seven minutes to play as Tyler Vanuden took a Keaton Mastrodonato pass at centre and pushed the pace over the Victoria line before finding Julian Benner going to the net with a cross-ice pass up the left side where he put a shot on net that hit either Chapman or a defender before finding the back of the net to make it 5-1 at 12:17 of the third. The Bulldogs were unable to build on it, with more penalties both ways in the final five minutes slowing the pace as tempers flared. The Bulldogs earned a 28 second 5 on 3 power play with just half a minute to play, but were unable to beat Chapman as time expired, with more rough stuff breaking out at the buzzer.
Third period shots were 21-10 Grizzlies, for a game total in their favour of 49-25, with John Hawthorne taking the loss while Kurtis Chapman earned the win. Special teams were.....prevalent. Unofficially, I had the Bulldogs at 0 for 4 and the Grizzlies at 2 for 10.
The Bulldogs are next in action tomorrow night when they host the Cowichan Valley Capitals.