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Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Bulldogs tie it late, drop 4-3 overtime decision in Victoria

After a long delay to start the game due to the lights not being ready, the game didn't have a whistle for over three minutes off the opening puck drop. The Grizzlies had the edge in the play and opportunities through the first 10 minutes, out shooting the Bulldogs 10-2. John Hawthorne was sharp, making one especially good save on a moving-in Carter Berger from the left circle. The Bulldogs would draw first blood against the flow of play just past the midway point of the period, as Isaac Tonkin-Palmer followed up his own rebound and forced a turnover in the Victoria zone that bounced loose to Ryan Moon in the left circle. His first shot was blocked, but it came back to him a split second later and he made no mistake with a quick release high short-side over the blocker of Kurtis Chapman for his first as a Bulldog to make it 1-0, with Mitchel Deelstra drawing the lone assist at 10:39 of the first. John Hawthorne came up with a huge save on the door step a minute later robbing Riley Hughes with a desperation save, before Chapman came up with a timely stop of his own after turning over a dump in moments afterwards. The Grizzlies would earn a power play, and made quick work of it to tie the game as Carter Berger set up Alex Newhook at the top of the right circle. He would put the puck hard to the hashmarks, where Jeremie Bucheler deflected it five-hole on Hawthorne to make it 1-1 at 12:34 of the first. Shots in period one were 23-7 Grizzlies.

The Bulldogs began the second on the penalty kill, and the Grizzlies again made good on the opportunity to take the lead as Carter Berger took an Alex Newhook pass at the top of the point and fired a high wrist shot through traffic that hit Hawthorne but ended up arcing into the net behind him to make it 2-1 at 33 seconds into the period. Alex Campbell also assisted on the play. The Bulldogs didn't sit back, and pushed right back on the following shifts with a handful of good opportunities that earned momentum and turned into a power play on the following shift. They would connect on it to tie the game, as Aaron Bohlinger made a great play to knock the puck down out of mid-air along the boards to keep it in the zone. He would one-hand it to the middle, where Keaton Mastrodonato made a perfect cross-ice pass to the top of the left circle for Ryan Miotto, who made no mistake in blasting a one-timer high short-side past the blocker of Chapman to make it 2-2, running his goal streak to three straight games at 4:45 of the second. The game would turn late in the period when the Bulldogs were given the only penalty after the whistle at the side of the Victoria net. It would turn into a 5 on 3 power play, and the Grizzlies made it 3-2 for their third power play goal of the game when Riley Hughes found an Alex Newhook faceoff win and walked in and went high short-side over the blocker of Hawthorne at 15:52 of the second. The Bulldogs would kill off the following 1:30 of the second penalty, but were again immediately penalized. They would hold the fort to the buzzer, with Hawthorne coming up with a series of solid saves to keep it 3-2 Grizzlies after two. Shots in the period were 20-9 Victoria, for a 43-16 advantage in their favour after 40 minutes.

The Bulldogs killed off the remaining penalty time to open the third, but were unable to turn the tide before heading back to the penalty box again inside the five minute mark. They would again come up with a big kill to keep it a one-goal game, and it stayed that way into the late stages of the third thanks to the solid play of Hawthorne. The Dogs hung around into the final minute, and got the equalizer with the goalie out for the extra attacker as Ryan Miotto won a series of faceoffs, the final one back to the right point for Marcus Walter. He would fire a wrister on goal that was deflected by Keaton Mastrodonato and stopped by Chapman, but Miotto found the rebound and fired it home for his second of the game to make it 3-3 at 19:41 of the third to force overtime. Third period shots were 9-6 Grizzlies, for a 60 minute total of 52-22.

Overtime would end quickly, as Riley Hughes fought the opening draw back to his own goalie. Carter Berger went back to get it, and then went end to end up the left wing and in on Hawthorne where he just tucked it under his left toe and over the line for the game winner and the 4-3 final at 20 seconds of overtime.

Final shots were 53-22 Grizzlies, with John Hawthorne taking the loss while Kurtis Chapman earned the win. The Bulldogs went 1 for 2 on the power play while the Grizzlies went 3 for 6.

The Bulldogs are next in action Saturday night when they host the Wenatchee Wild.



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