After a late start due to all the Home Opener ceremonies, the Vees got off to an early jump on the Bulldogs, having a couple solid chances due to misplayed pucks by the Bulldogs in the first couple of minutes of the game. John Hawthorne would be razor sharp, coming up with a couple solid saves in tight around his net to keep it tied. The Bulldogs would push back and get in the game, but were then on the defensive side of the puck on back to back instances when the Vees drew back to back power play opportunities. On the second chance, the Vees created a cross-ice one-timer set up off the back post, that appeared to hit the crossbar and stay out. The Referee at the net would immediately stop play however, and signal that it was a goal. Upon either further review from the other three Officials, or from the replay officials in the building, it was clear that the puck hit the crossbar and didn't in fact go in so the call was reversed. The Bulldogs got better at the period went on, but couldn't generate any Grade A chances to beat Jack LaFontaine. Shots in the first were 12-4 Vees.
The second period saw either team have their chances early, with Aaron Bohlinger driving the net forcing LaFontaine to make a good first save and a rebound stop at well. The Vees would counter and win an extended battle in the Dogs zone before working the puck to the slot where Hawthorne made a fantastic save on a one-timer from the slot, and a subsequent rebound stop as well. He couldn't stop a third chance though, as Andre Ghantous found the loose puck and banged it home to make it 1-0 Vees at 4:02 of the second. The Bulldogs generated a couple good looks to the midway point of the period, but they couldn't get a bounce around LaFontaine to tie the game. Each team had their chances throughout the remainder of the period, with a plethora of penalties late somewhat slowing the flow. During a delayed penalty in the dying seconds of the period, John Hawthorne came up with a huge save on and in-alone chance for Brendan Harrogate on a pass across the slot that saw him down and out, but able to get a glove up in desperation to keep it a 1-0 Vees lead after two periods. Shots were 8-aside in the second, for a 20-12 Vees advantage.
The penalties carried over to start the third, with the Bulldogs killing off a short 4 on 3 advantage for the Vees, and a follow up 5 on 4 power play. They were again penalized later in the period, but did a solid job in support of Hawthorne to not give up much. The Bulldogs had a fantastic chance to tie it at the midway point of the period, with an Aaron Bohlinger pass out of the corner finding Ryan Miotto in front, but Jack LaFontaine got his left pad on it. The period was played at a high pace through the final minutes, with the Bulldogs pushing but being unable to get a bounce to beat LaFontaine. The Vees would jump on a faceoff win in their end to create a turnover by the Bulldog defence to race in on a 2 on 0 rush with under four minutes to play. John Hawthorne would stare down Andre Ghantous, before coming up with a huge save on a cross-ice one time set up for Drew Elser that he got a blocker arm on to keep the Bulldogs in the game. It would be all for naught unfortunately, as less than a minute later the Bulldogs turned the puck over across their blue line, allowing David Silye to speed onto it up the right wing where he beat Hawthorne with a quick release high short-side to make it 2-0, unassisted with 2:29 to play. The Bulldogs pushed hard to the final buzzer, pulling their goalie with two minutes to play and generating a series of scrambles around the Vees net but they couldn't get to any available rebounds to make a game of it before time expired.
Third period shots were 15-11 Vees, for a game total in their favour of 35-23 with John Hawthorne earning 3rd star honours while taking the loss, with Jack LaFontaine earning the win with 1st star honours and the shut out. The Bulldogs went 0 for 3 on the power play, while the Vees went 0 for 6.
The Bulldogs conclude their road trip tomorrow afternoon in Surrey, a 4:00pm start.
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