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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Bulldogs drop 6-5 heartbreaker in West Kelowna

Both goalies were fairly busy through the opening minutes of the game, with both sides getting pucks on goal in tight but Cole Demers and Brock Baier kept it scoreless. It wasn't that way for long, as the Warriors found the net on the rush as Willie Reim was found alone over the Bulldogs line at top speed cutting across the slot where he slid it home five hole on Demers. Calvin Tilsley and Anthony Bishop drew the assists at 4:43 of the first. The Bulldogs answered almost immediately, as Aaron Bohlinger blocked a shot in the hashmarks, and then put a perfect outlet pass up the right wing for Ryan Miotto, who raced away on a 2 on 1 where he carried the puck in tight before placing a perfect cross-ice pass onto the tape of Jackson Doucet, who made no mistake in hammering it into the open net at 5:27 of the first to make it 1-1. The Bulldogs kept pushing the pace, and earned a power play chance that saw them create a plethora of great chances - Jackson Doucet was stopped in alone on a pretty move at the attacking line, Mitchel Deelstra hit a crossbar, and Ryan Moon saw a net drive that ended up on the goal line before Baier made a great save to drop his glove on it. The Dogs kept pushing, and went up 2-1 on another pretty goal as Hayden Hurst went D-to-D across the Bulldog line for Grayson Valente, who put a headman pass onto the tape of Mitchel Deelstra, who drove wide and beat his man before cutting across the crease and getting Baier down and out before lifting it home to make it 2-2 at 8:24 of the first. The Bulldogs had several great chances to build their lead, but couldn't beat Baier before the Warriors answered as Willie Reim took a pass at centre up the left wing with speed and beat two Bulldogs to cut in alone on Demers across the crease where he tucked it home five hole to make it 2-2 at 12:44 of the first with Lucas Bahn drawing the lone assist. The Bulldogs again generated a handful of chances before the buzzerm, but it stayed 2-2 after 20 minutes Shots were 23-17 Bulldogs after one.

The Bulldogs killed off a Warrior carry-over power play to start the second, and got back on the attack, taking the lead back just 4:12 into the period as Evan Googins made a pretty pass in the slot to Mitchel Deelstra walking through the left circle, where he cut in alone on Baier. He would make the first save, but Aaron Bohlinger tapped it home on the goal line to make it 3-2. Both sides traded chances for the following few minutes, before the Dogs went up 4-2 as Ethan McLaughlin put an outlet pass to centre ice for Dawson Tritt, who sent Michael Hodge over the Warriors line where he cut to the middle with a pretty move before snapping one inside the post under the glove of Baier for his first as a Bulldog at 9:58 of the second. It was 5-2 three minutes later when McLaughlin chipped the puck high up the glass past a Warrior defender to create another odd-man rush that saw Michael Hodge gain the line up the left side before putting a pretty cross-ice feed onto the tape of Dawson Tritt, who picked the top corner, far-side at 12:55 of the second.  The Warriors would change goalies, and Connor Hopkins was imeediately tested as he stopped Aaron Bohlinger in alone, along with Stephen Castagna in tight. The Bulldogs would then spend a good 90 seconds on the attack in the Warriors zone, but would get caught on the ice too long and the Warriors countered with a shot initially hitting the post and staying out, before Wyatt Head just threw it at the net from the left circle where it found it's way through to make it 5-3 at 14:48 of the period, with assists going to Austin Chorney and Max Bulawka. Four minutes later, it was 5-4 as the Warriors pressed and got a bounce in the paint that saw a shot hit traffic and end up behind Demers where Mike Hardman tapped it in to make it 5-4 at 18:24 of the second. Assisting were Austin Chorney and Wyatt Head. Shots were 18-14 Warriors in the period, for a 37-35 Bulldog advantage after 40 minutes.

The third period saw things tighten up considerably, with the chances low through the early minutes. The Warriors would tie the game on a stretch pass by Lucas Cullen from below the Warriors goal line onto the tape of Bennett Norlin, who had snuck behind the Bulldog defence. He would walk in alone and hit the crossbar, only to have it bounce off the back of Demers and in to make it 5-5 at 10:22 of the third. The Bulldogs didn't sag, responding with a couple good chances and a power play, but being unable to find the go-ahead goal. The Warriors would earn a power play with four minutes to play, and they made quick work on it for the eventual winner as Mike Hardman went rink wide to the left circle for Parm Dhaliwal who immediately found Lucas Cullen off the back post where he tapped it in to make it 6-5 at 15:40 of the third. The Bulldogs would pull Cole Demers with over two minutes to play, and had a couple fantastic looks around the net but couldn't get a bounce to beat Hopkins as the Warriors held on to the buzzer.

Third period shots were 14-10 Bulldogs, for a game total in their favour of 51-45 with Cole Demers taking the loss while Connor Hopkins earned the win being perfect in relief stopping all 16 shots he faced. The Bulldogs went 0 for 2 on the power play while the Warriors went 1 for 2.

The Bulldogs conclude their trip tomorrow afternoon in Coquitlam, a 3:00pm start against the Express.



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