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Friday, September 21, 2018

Bulldogs drop third straight, 5-1 to Wild to open Showcase

The start to the game was spirited.....for a few fleeting seconds as a pane of glass was dislodged on the opening shift of the game, resulting in a delay. It was thankfully a pretty short one, as the rink staff quickly repaired it as the game resumed. The first five or so minutes were end-to-end, with neither team generating much in the way of offence, or making any mistakes to allow opportunities. The Wild would capitalize on the first one of the game, as a puck behind the Bulldog net was stolen and quickly ended up out front where Matt Gosiewski made no mistake on with a quick release low through the legs of John Hawthone to make it 1-0 6:48 in, with assists going to Murphy Stratton and Lucas Sowder. The Bulldogs ended up in the penalty box soon after, and the Wild pressed for an insurance marker but Hawthorne came up with a couple good saves on the doorstep off a re-direct and rebound opportunity for Lucas Sowder. The Bulldogs killed off the remainder of the penalty, and later in the frame earned an opportunity of their own. They would come painfully close to tying the score, and getting their first power play goal of the season, as a Marcus Walter blast hit the post behind Austin Park, but stayed out. The Bulldogs earned another power play later in the period, but failed to generate much after the first 30 seconds as they were a little sloppy with the puck, and the while were relentless on the forecheck to further frustrate the Bulldogs. Shots in the first were 10-8 Wild.

The second period saw the Bulldogs earn an early power play opportunity, in somewhat interesting circumstances as a delayed penalty against the Wild ended up in a whistle with the Bulldogs earning a too-many-men penalty attempting to get the goalie out for the extra attacker. The initial minor was a four-minute spearing penalty against Wenatchee, resulting in the Bulldogs staying on the power play. They would snap their scoreless streak at over 80 minutes, and their season-long power play drought as Marcus Walter took a Tyler Vanuden pass in the deep slo where he blew a slapper top corner, far-side over the glove of Austin Park to tie it at 1-1. Keaton Mastrodonato also drew an assist at 5:14 of the second. The Bulldogs put the momentum to the goal to good use, spending the next few minutes on a couple of shifts hemming the Wild in their zone, but they couldn't generate the go-ahead goal. The Wild would quickly counter, taking advantage of a turnover that ended up out front for Matt Gosiewski who put a perfect backdoor pass onto the tape of Murphy Stratton who tapped it into the open side. Lucas Sowder also drew an assist on the play at 9:34 of the second. The Bulldogs went to the power play two minutes later, but couldn't cash in on it. The Wild earned a power play chance with five minutes to play in the frame, but the Bulldogs killed it off, with Hawthorne coming up with a couple solid stops in tight and a highlight reel save on a cross-ice one-time set up on a 2 on 1 rush off of Lucas Sowder. The Bulldogs drew a penalty with under two to play in the period on a nice net drive by Mitchel Deelstra, but again couldn't make it count to find the equalizer before the buzzer. Shots in the period were 13-7 Wild, for a 23-15 Wenatchee advantage after 40 minutes.

The Bulldogs began the third with a half-minute of power play time, but the Wild killed it off. They would take a 3-1 lead on the rush before the period was four minutes old, just seconds after a dangerous Bulldog opportunity around the Wild net as Murphy Stratton put a puck at the net on a 2 on 1 that was stopped by Hawthorne. The Wild would beat the Bulldogs back to their net though, as Matt Gosiewski lifted the rebound home to make it 3-1 at 3:38 of the third, with assists to Lucas Sowder and Brandon Koch. Just four minutes later it was 4-1, as Christophe Fillion got a stick on a Brandon Koch point shot to make it change direction drastically to sneak under the arm of Hawthorne. Ryan Wilson also drew a helper on the play at 7:34 of the third. The Bulldogs didn't go away, which was certainly nice to see, but they couldn't trim the deficit before the Wild rubbed some salt in the wound with five minutes to play as the last-man-back at neutral ice was poke-checked resulting in a partial breakaway. An aggressive back-check unfortunately resulted in the shot going off a defender's stick and through Hawthorne to complete the scoring, with Christophe Fillion scoring it, with Nathan Iannone drawing the only assist at 15:00 of the third.

Third period shots were 13-8 Wild, for a game total of 36-23 Wild with John Hawthorne taking the loss while Austin Park earned the win. The Bulldogs went 1 for 5 on the power play while the Wild went 0 for 3.

The Bulldogs are next in action at 1:00pm tomorrow, as they conclude their Showcase appearance by taking on the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. 


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