Please visit the links and support my friends and supporters!!!

Please visit the links and support my friends and supporters!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Bulldogs name Joe Martin new Head Coach, General Manager - INTERVIEW AUDIO.....

Hello everyone and thanks for checking the blog.... exciting announcement from the Bulldogs on Monday, as reigning BCHL Coach of the Year Joe Martin was named the new Head Coach and General Manager.

Read the full release below for further details.

I'm excited for the team and community at this announcement, with Martin's experience and success in Merritt, and from my previous interactions with him - one of which is included in the interview from the 93.3 The Peak FM Morning show yesterday.

You can listen to that in it's entirety BY CLICKING HERE, courtesy 93.3 The Peak FM

This is also certainly an exciting opinion, from my perspective and for the fans - from Merritt Centennials play-by-play voice Jared Thomas...


The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are proud to announce the hiring of Joe  
Martin on a multi-year agreement to become the Bulldogs' new Head  
Coach and General Manager.

Martin joins the Bulldogs as the current BCHL Coach of the year after  
guiding the Merritt Centennials to an overall record of 36-15-4-3  
during the 2018/19 season, good for second place overall in the  
Interior Division.

In four seasons as the Centennials' Head Coach and General Manager,  
Martin compiled an overall record of 106-97-21-3.  In total, Martin  
spent eight seasons with Merritt, joining them as an Assistant  
Coach/Assistant GM for the 2011/12 season before taking over the reins  
as Head Coach in 2015. Martin has also served as the Assistant Coach  
for the past two Team Canada West clubs at the World Junior A Challenge.

"Our family is excited to be moving to the city of Port Alberni and to  
join the Alberni Valley Bulldogs," says Martin. "Every time I’ve  
coached in the Weyerhaeuser Arena, I’ve always been impressed with the  
hometown presence. It’s a loud building with fantastic ice -- arguably  
the best in the BCHL. I look forward to bringing an entertaining brand  
of hockey to the Alberni Valley and continuing to help young athletes  

"Having Joe Martin join us in Port Alberni is a major win for our  
program," says David Michaud. "I’ve seen first-hand during my time in  
Penticton the type of teams Joe Martin can deploy.  Joe has also  
demonstrated an ability to move his athletes on to the next level. Our  
club is very lucky to have Joe and his family join us in our pursuit  
of becoming an elite program in the BCHL."

The Bulldogs are proud to welcome Joe and his family to Port Alberni.

Season Memberships for the 2019/20 season are now on sale.  Visit to get your memberships.


For more information, please contact:
David Michaud
Business Manager

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Hughes, Bulldogs part ways..

From the Bulldog Facebook page earlier this hour.....

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs announced today that, effective immediately, Head Coach and General Manager Matt Hughes has resigned his position from the club by mutual agreement. Hughes was originally hired by the team in May 2017 and guided the Bulldogs for two seasons.
“On behalf of the entire Bulldogs organization and the Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society, I’d like to thank Matt for his efforts on the ice, and in the community during his tenure with the club,” says said Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society President Jim Pelk. “We had many exciting nights at the Multiplex over the past two years, and we wish Matt all the best in his future hockey endeavors.”
“Coaching the Alberni Valley Bulldogs has been an honour and I would like to thank the players, billets, fans and community as a whole for the warm welcome they have given me,” says Hughes. “I wish the team full success in the future.”
The search for Hughes’s replacement is underway and the club hopes to name a new Head Coach and General Manager in the coming days.
For more information, please contact:
David Michaud
Business Manager

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Grizzlies sweep series with 3-2 win in Game Four win

For the fourth straight game, the Grizzlies opened the scoring. For the third time in four games in the series, the Grizzlies also took the lead inside the first 90 seconds of play, this time a series-best 15 seconds from the opening puck drop as John Hawthorne misplayed a Carter Berger dump in from behind his net back out front to the bottom of the left circle where Kyle McGrath found it and put a cross-ice feed on the stick of Alex Newhook, who lifted it high over a desperation cross-ice dive by Hawthorne to make it 1-0 and stun the building. For a few minutes it looked like the Bulldogs had again found a way to not appear deflated despite the gut punch to start the game, but as the minutes wore on the Grizzlies kept pushing while the Bulldogs couldn't respond for any sustained stretches as John Hawthorne came up with at least half a dozen huge saves in tight to keep it a one-goal game. The most notable was on a wide-open Alex Newhook on a Victoria power play right in front, with Hawthorne staring him down to keep it out. The Grizzlies were initially awarded a goal by the Referee at the net and the goal judge who turned the light on just 10 seconds into a power play after the Bulldogs were whistled on a trip behind the Victoria net. It never looked in to me, as a shot from the top of the left circle appeared to hit near where the post and crossbar meet before bouncing cross-ice. It might be just my eyes, but the replay also appears to show the puck visible in front of the crossbar instead of behind it as it went across the net from right to left. The Referee immediately stopped play and signalled goal, and the goal light also went on. After an Officials conference, and a chat with the goal judge, the call was reversed and it remained 1-0 after one. Shots were 16-5 Grizzlies.

You make the call - upon looking at this morning, blowing it up and slowing it down, I'm sticking with my same assessment last night - if it's going in top corner under the bar, how does it go across the front of the crossbar and in front of the bar? Again, maybe it's my eyes, but my brain tells me if it's going in up and under the bar, it has to come down, not up as that would defy the laws of physics.

The Bulldogs didn't give up much through the opening minutes of the second, but it remained the same kind of game, as they were unable dictate the play but instead continued to chase it. They managed to hang around though, and as the period wore on they managed at least to get pucks in deep and force the Grizzlies defence to turn and retrieve pucks. The Bulldogs managed to get a few instances of attack time and suddenly got on the body and appeared to gain some momentum from it. The Bulldogs would tie the game, in crazy fashion, with a misplay by a Grizzlies defender behind their net on a pass from the left side behind the goal line by Kurtis Chapman. It has to be mentioned that the play wouldn't have happened if not for a waved off icing initially however, as Brady MacDonald stepped up at the attacking line and put his stick over the stick of Michael Hodge resulting in Hodge being unable to make a play on it. It wasn't waved off initially, with the front Linesman appearing to look at the back Linesman before then waving it off. That forced Chapman out of his net to play it, and Michael Hodge hustled to get in on the chase and stole it off a Victoria defender and then banked it off a retreating Chapman's left toe and JUST over the line, with the Referee in position to call it in. The Grizzlies withstood the momentum, and then a Bulldog penalty kill with Hawthorne being the busier of the two goalies with Jordan Guiney in alone, Kyle McGrath in alone the left wing, and Henri Scheifels also in alone in tight, with Hawthorne coming up with a trio of huge saves to keep it 1-1 after 40 minutes. Shots in the period were 17-14 Bulldogs, for a 30-22 Grizzlies edge after 40 minutes.

Victoria took the lead back early in the third period, as they kept a series of broken plays alive in the Bulldog zone resulting in Charlie Campbell finding Carter Berger off the bench in full flight, where he walked across the line down into the left faceoff circle tight on Hawthorne where he put a perfectly placed shot over the shoulder and under the bar short-side to make it 2-1 at 3:17 of the period, with Ryan Nolan also drawing an assist. The period wore on with the checking being tight and the intensity high as neither side was able to generate much in the way of a sustained attack of Grade A scoring chances. The Bulldogs did have a couple promising pucks around Chapman, one on a give and go deflection on the rush that saw a deflection hit him and stay out. The Bulldogs continued to push and pulled Hawthorne with under two minutes to play. They again got a couple pucks around Chapman but no glorious chances before the Grizzlies again worked the puck out of the zone on an odd-man rush on an empty net. Aaron Bohlinger would again make the initial save on Cameron Thompson, but it bounced across the ice to Henri Schreifels, who walked it into the empty net to make it 3-1 at 18:06 with Cameron Thompson drawing the lone assist. The Bulldogs would again pull Hawthorne and again for the second straight night with the Grizzlies appearing to have put the game away and the Bulldogs looking to be dead in the water, Ryan Nolan cracked the door open to offer them a second life. Despite the Grizzlies up two goals with under a minute to play, he couldn't resist laying a direct blow to the head of Mitchel Deelstra, giving the Bulldogs a power play chance, while getting a huge break from the Officials at the same time in that it was only called an elbowing penalty.

The Bulldogs would kick the door down and go down fighting, pulling Hawthorne and executing on the ensuing faceoff as Ryan Miotto won it back to Jackson Doucet, who fed Aaron Bohlinger at the top of the point. He perfectly teed up Marcus Walter outside the top of the right circle, where he blew a one-timer long side low inside the far post past the stick of Chapman to make it 3-2 with 33 seconds to play. It would be too little too late, with the Bulldogs creating one more Grade A scoring chance in the hashmarks that was painfully close, rattling off the feet of Mitchel Deelstra as he couldn't get a shot off before the Grizzlies cleared it to kill the final ten seconds and change off the clock.

Third period shots were 13-12 Bulldogs, for a game total of 42-35 Grizzlies. John Hawthorne put a final exclamation mark on his Junior career, being named 1st star while stopping 39 of 41 shots in giving the Bulldogs ever chance to win it. Kurtis Chapman earned the win. The Bulldogs went 1 for 4 on the power play, while the Grizzlies were 0 for 1.

To the lone graduating 20 year old John Hawthorne, and to the players departing for Scholarships in Marcus Walter, Ryan Miotto and Keaton Mastrodonato - best of luck in your careers down the road, and a huge thanks for your efforts in a Bulldog sweater night in and night out, and out and about in the community, and for your time when it came to interviews with me.

To the Grizzlies - best of luck on your playoff run. As I said on the air several times during the post game show - top to bottom, from Ownership to Office Staff to game night staff, Broadcasters, Videographers, support staff and Coaching staff especially Craig Didmon for our numerous interviews - I was treated with nothing but class and respect and professionalism and it's certainly appreciated.

There's too many to thank for now locally....that's what makes being in Port Alberni and involved with the Bulldogs in any facet and enjoyable privilege. To the players both departing and returning and unsure - thanks for your time in both interviews and in general on the road and at the rink. I'll miss it, and miss the connection that grows by just being involved like I am. To the Coaching Staff of Matt Hughes, Jeff Dubois for their time fielding my endless questions and queries and interviews win, lose or draw pre and post game and in between - I'm again fortunate to get to work in association with fantastic and passionate individuals that treat me better than anyone probably should. Jamie Amos and Scott Crema - the organization is better for having you involved in it, and we're lucky to have you both and you're efforts in your jobs along with your support and toleration of me are above and beyond what the high end of the standard is that the best of the best operate at.

Bruce MacDonald and Dan Tisserand - there isn't enough words to do justice at this late hour how amazing these two guys are. Their passion is unparalleled.

My wife and kids - I couldn't do it without them, and couldn't operate at the level I operate at without an off the scale level of support and understand and sacrifice at home, when I'm not there and I'm off in some rink in a corner of the province or some dark bus who knows where.

Broadcast sponsors and support staff and operations staff at The Peak - the unsung heroes behind the scenes for getting the sponsors, for making the broadcasts operate, that don't get to be on the fun side of being on air but doing all the important stuff that makes the fun stuff even possible. Thank you.

Bulldog sponsors, Board members, volunteers, game night staff, billets, and last but not least fans... NONE of the above is even a reality if there isn't people putting in thankless endless hours to make the wheels that run the team turn, that make the tickets be taken, and sold....that put the nets on, that keep the fans secure and safe and taken care of...that run the intermissions and all the other things I can't even think of. Charles for being the one man show he is, with a level of professionalism and pride and class that can't be matched. Brenda and Shelly for Game Sheets and line ups. Clock operators and penalty box staff. And a final note on the fans, of course there's no show if no one comes to watch and support it. You've fully earned your reputation across the league and province and beyond for being the best and most passionate city that supports there team anywhere.

To the players parents and the fans that donate to this blog, whether it's year after year, or in a year where a player spends part of his career here - it's very much appreciated almost makes me feel bad when they do it. Quite truthfully when the season gets long and the hours of sleep get short and the motivation required to go to the lengths I go gets low... I think of the responsibility I have of keeping you connected to your sons, brothers, grandsons, and your team - and that is where I find the motivation and passion to keep doing this the way I do it - a sincere thank you.

I'm checking out of the blog for a while - and trying to get some family and recovery time in.... back at work at 6am tomorrow... I'll miss alot... I'll miss almost all of it - but not weeknight games!



There has never been a subscription fee for this blog - and there never will be, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Just click HERE. . . and thank you very much. *

*As eloquently said by Gregg Drinnan of Taking Note - the best hockey/sports blog around

Bulldogs host Grizzlies for must-win Game Four tonight

Break out all the cliches, as it's win or go home, do or die, backs against the wall and fight to stay alive time as the Bulldogs host the Victoria Grizzlies tonight at the Multiplex for a must-win game four of this Island Division Semi Final series.

The Bulldogs face elimination tonight, and the Grizzlies face the prospect of advancement after a 6-5 Victoria win last night in overtime to take a 3-0 series lead.

A tough result for the Bulldogs to take without question, with the calls seeming to not go their way throughout the game and right to the very end of it when the Grizzlies won it after the Bulldogs dug out of a two-goal hole in the third to tie it in the final minute.

In the end, leave all the bad behind and build off the good and just find a way to live to fight another day and force a Game Five in Victoria Friday night.

Van Isle Ford Bulldogs takes to the 93.3 The Peak FM airwaves at 6:45 for our pregame show, with the game action to follow just after 7:00. Dan Tisserand compiles and provides team and player statistical information, Bruce MacDonald analyzes while providing colour commentary and I will call the play-by-play.

Tonight's 2nd Intermission guest is former Bulldog Captain Ryan Steele, who played just under 100 games in a Bulldog uniform. Steele is enjoying a fantastic Freshman season with the NCAA's Sacred Heart Pioneers

If you aren't in listening range of 93.3 The Peak FM you can listen/watch the game by:

Listening Live on your computer:
Listening Live on your SmartPhone :
Watching Live on your computer/SmartPhone


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog - and there never will be, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Just click HERE. . . and thank you very much. *

*As eloquently said by Gregg Drinnan of Taking Note - the best hockey/sports blog around

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Bulldogs tie it late, Grizzlies win it 6-5 in overtime to take 3-0 series lead

The Bulldogs looked sharp off the opening puck drop, but despite that it was an immediate hole again as Kyle McGrath won a draw in the Bulldog zone where Brady MacDonald simply put it on net from the right point. John Hawthorne would make the save, but Marty Westhaver tapped the rebound inside the far post to make it 1-0 just 1:18 of first. The Bulldogs didn't show any signs of letting the early deficit get to them, as they responded right back to push the pace and get pucks on Kurtis Chapman. He would make a great save to protect the lead near the midway point of the period, as Keaton Mastrodonato made a fantastic play to pick up a puck off a bounce from the kick plate in full flight up the right wing at centre ice. Chapman would stop the initial shot, but give up a bouncing cross-ice rebound that Jackson Doucet managed to fight on net, only to have Chapman dive post to post through the crease to get his body on it to keep it out. The Bulldogs kept pushing, and were rewarded for it as they tied the game as Stephen Castagna knocked a puck loose on a battle on the left wing in the Grizzlies zone. Marcus Walter would step up to keep it in, and walked past traffic to create a 2 on 1 where he kept the puck aj11:18 of the first. Before the crowd had a chance to celebrate the Grizzlies tied it almost instantly, as the Bulldogs attacked on the rush, but turned it over on a cross-ice pass entering the zone. A quick head-man pass was picked up behind the defence by Marty Westhaver who raced in alone and put a backhand deke past Hawthorne to make it 2-1 at 11:36 of the first, with Henri Schreifels and Kyle McGrath getting credit for the helpers. The Bulldogs once again answered to tie it, as Austin Spiridakis forced a turnover and bumped it up the wall on the right side where a pinching in Hayden Hurst kept the battle alive to force it down the wall. Josh Zary would find it and fought off a defender to drive the net where he beat Chapman low far side at 13:31 of the first. Neither team would find the net before the buzzer, with the shots being 11-10 Bulldogs.

The second period saw neither side be especially crisp, but the Grizzlies having a great chance to take the lead in the opening moments as John Hawthorne came up with a pad save on a Kyle McGrath breakaway to keep it tied. The Bulldogs would earn a power play on a large-scale after the whistle dust up four minutes into the frame, but finally took their first lead of the series just short of eight minutes in when Ryan Novecosky took a Keaton Mastrodonato pass at the left point and walked to the middle where he threw a puck on goal that his traffic in front before landing at the left side of the paint where Ryan Miotto banged it in to make it 3-1 at 7:51. The Bulldogs didn't have a chance to build on it, as just a minute later the Grizzlies went to the power play when Alex Newhook was checked going to the net off the bench. They would connect on the chance to tie the game as Alex Newhook walked into the top of the right circle where he snapped one long-side through a screen blocker side to make it 3-3. Assists on the play went to Kenny Johnson and Kyle McGrath, but they should've went to Riley Hughes and Carter Berger at 9:23 of the second. A dust-up at the benches behind the play resulted in Stephen Castagna given four minutes for butt ending. The Grizzlies again connected on it, as a point shot was tipped on goal but stopped by Hawthorne. Ryan Nolan would find the rebound first though, and tapped it home to make it 4-3 at 11:34 of the period, with assists to Nico Somerville and Charlie Campbell. Another penalty on the second minor put the Grizzlies to a 27 second two-man advantage, but the Bulldogs killed it off. The Grizzlies would find the net again though in the second penalty as Nico Somerville scored on a one-timer long side past the blocker of Hawthorne, with assists to Cameron Thompson and Charlie Campbell at 14:43 of the second. Ryan Nolan would celebrate the goal by taunting Hawthorne instead of celebrating with his teammates, and would earn a 10 minute misconduct. The Bulldogs earned a power play seconds later when Marcus Walter was hit awkwardly into the end boards but would be unable to capitalize on it as the Grizzlies led 5-3 after 40 minutes. Second period shots were 10-10, for a 21-20 Bulldog edge.

The Bulldogs earned a power play early in the third, before a tough to accept scenario at the Victoria net took the advantage away. Mitchel Deelstra would stop in front of the net as Kurtis Chapman caught and held the puck. Chapman would then put his glove into the face of Deelstra, who responded with a slash, which brought about a response by the Grizzlies in the form of a crosscheck to the head of Deelstra. The only penalty, went to Deelstra. The Bulldogs would kill it off after the four-on-four ended, and continued to fight to get back into it, finally doing so with just under 10 minutes to play as Steven Castagna and Isaac Tonkin-Palmer kept it in at the Victoria line before Castagna fired a shot on net from the right circle where Chapman made the save but allowed a rebound in the paint that Mitchel Deelstra chipped home to make it 5-4 at 10:43 of the third. The Grizzlies pushed right back, and John Hawthorne made a huge save on an in-alone Marty Westhaver to keep the Dogs in it. The Grizzlies held on into late stages of the third, with the Bulldogs pulling their goalie with under two minutes to play. They earned a fantastic chance on a bounce across the slot, only to have the puck roll of the stick of Mitchel Deelstra and miss short-side. The Grizzlies would block a shot in the slot, that Jordan Guiney found and sent up the left wing for Ryan Nolan who raced away on a 3 on 1 rush. He would elect to keep the puck and attempt a shot, that was blocked by the last man back in Aaron Bohlinger to give the Bulldogs a second life. They would make the most of it, as Ryan Miotto head-manned it up the right wing for Jackson Doucet. He would carry it down the wall into the Grizzlies zone before putting a perfect cross-ice pass to Mitchel Deelstra who walked into the slot where he snapped one short-side past the blocker of Chapman to rattle the rafters and tie it at 5-5 with 55 seconds to play to force overtime. Shots in the third were 16-13 Bulldogs for a 60 minute total of 37-33 Bulldogs. 

Here's the dramatic comeback to force overtime... 

Overtime saw the Bulldogs have a solid push through the early minutes, with a series of pucks around Chapman resulting in scrambles but failing to find the net, perhaps the most notable chance seeing a Victoria defender block a cross-ice rebound on an open net. The Grizzlies would then tilt the ice, hemming the Bulldogs in their zone for several long stretches drawing repeated icings and a couple good opportunities that Hawthorne kept out. The Grizzlies would win it in controversial fashion, at least from the Bulldog side of the puck, as a pending icing was waved off at the last second - I'm not sure why, as play continued, as opposed to an attacking zone faceoff and a line change. The Bulldogs would clear it, and get caught on the long change in overtime as the Grizzlies seconds later had another chance to win it on a breakaway that saw Hawthorne come up with a blocker save on Marty Westhaver. Cameron Thompson would retrieve the rebound and be allowed to walk out front, and when a Bulldog defender couldn't get through being interfered with in front it allowed him to walk right in where he scored the game winner with a perfectly placed top corner, short-side high shot over the blocker of Hawthorne for the 6-5 final and a 3-0 series lead for the Grizzlies at 9:15 of overtime with Marty Westhaver drawing the only assist. 

Here's the sequence that led to the game winner. Some may find it hard to believe, but I don't want to talk about Officiating. It's a developmental league. It's an incredibly tough job. They're only human. I certainly understand and respect all of the above. I'm not sure I can ever recall the same play happening in the span of less than a minute at both ends of the ice going against one team both ways, and going for one team both ways, at least with such a large consequence. I considered I missed something, I considered it was only me looking from the Bulldog side of the puck and to just forget it all. I usually trust my instincts and first view - but I went to the OTHER side of the puck, Grizzlies broadcaster Scott Didmon to find out what he saw. As it turns out, it was the same that I did. Great minds think alike, or fools seldom differ perhaps?

A final point on all this - It's not sour grapes, or an attempt to give the Bulldogs and excuse, or to take away from the Grizzlies in winning. Just doing my job in relaying how it happened. I absolutely would not avoid it should it have happened the other way. When I lack the passion to care enough to go through the steps of trying to summarize something like this, it's time to hang 'em up!

Shots in overtime were 6-4 Grizzlies, for a 41-39 Bulldogs total with Kurtis Chapman picking up the win while John Hawthorne took the loss. The Bulldogs went 0 for 4 on the power play while the Grizzlies went 3 for 5., 


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog - and there never will be, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Just click HERE. . . and thank you very much. *

*As eloquently said by Gregg Drinnan of Taking Note - the best hockey/sports blog around

Playoff Hockey returns to the Multiplex, Bulldogs host Grizzlies tonight for Game Three

It's a huge Game Three of this best-of-seven Island semi final series, and the return of playoff hockey to the Dog Pound as the Bulldogs (0-2) look to respond and hold their home ice, while the Grizzlies (2-0) hope to continue their momentum to take a 3-0 stranglehold.

It's hard not to appreciate the bluntness of playoff hockey. For the Bulldogs it's as simple as this - win....and they're looking at a brand new series. Lose....and they'll be forced to face the reality of a win or go home scenario to continue their season, and for some players, their careers.

The Bulldogs need to forget the past two games and treat them like they are ancient history. They simply weren't good enough and the Grizzlies were full value for their wins. The Bulldogs need to have a major increase in their intensity, urgency and execution because the threat exists as soon as tomorrow that they could be facing a must-win scenario. That's too wide of a focus perhaps, and maybe the best thing they can do is narrow it down to absolutely nothing but the task at hand tonight, and that is BE BETTER.

They need to be consistently better though. 10 minutes won't do it against the Grizzlies. 25 won't either. Maybe 60 won't even be enough. The Bulldogs looked great through the first period and into the early moments of the second period of Game two.

A pessimist can argue that the end result is all that matters. It's of course true to a point - getting back to back losses is by no means an ideal result no matter how they happen. At the same time there's a large mental factor between getting down 1-0 a minute into the opener and chasing all night and barely being in the game en route to losing 8-3, and what they did the next night. They DID respond. I thought their answer back after getting thumped in the opener into Game two was impressive. They came out with a noticeable urgency and desperation to their game, they were physical, they just plain looked good and a step ahead. They killed off 2:45 of a power play to start the second, and then *poof* all of the good things that were so evident quite quickly were non existent, and it felt like only a matter of time until they went from chasing the game to trailing in the game. That's exactly what happened. At time of year you can't take shifts off or periods off or plays off and hope to beat anybody.

Here's hoping that tonight that same jump and intensity and desperation is again there - but consistently there for 60 minutes, or more. It's going to be a new series, or the same series. The Bulldogs can ill afford to put themselves in the position where it's the latter.

I can't wait to get back on the air inside the rink tonight. There's nothing like it this time of year. If you can't make the game, we will do our best to make you feel like you're there on Van Isle Ford Bulldogs Hockey on 93.3 The Peak FM Bruce MacDonald is responsible for game analysis and colour commentary, Dan Tisserand tabulates team and individual statistics and I call the play-by-play. Our pregame show goes live at 6:45, with the puck dropping just after 7:00

Tonight's 2nd Intermission guest is former Bulldog Captain Tryg Strand, who's currently on a fantastic run to the National Championships in his Senior season with the CIS's Guelph Gryphons. Tryg picked up a goal and two assists in the three-game series win. 

If you aren't in listening range of 93.3 The Peak FM you can listen/watch the game by:

Listening Live on your computer:
Listening Live on your SmartPhone :
Watching Live on your computer/SmartPhone


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog - and there never will be, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Just click HERE. . . and thank you very much. *

*As eloquently said by Gregg Drinnan of Taking Note - the best hockey/sports blog around

Monday, March 04, 2019

Did someone say.....Playoffs? Version 3.0 Marlon Sabo wins it

Fair warning - for those that haven't seen this before, you might want to turn your volume/speakers etc down a bit before you hit play on this have been warned! 

At the same time, anyone who witnessed this will probably crank it up. 

Perhaps my favourite/best/most memorable play-by-play call.. and perhaps Bruce's best as well.

Or maybe it's just the "moment" ? Or all of the above?

My favorite part about this moment... besides everything.... is just watching the reactions of everyone. On the ice, off the ice, in the stands, etc, and also Bruce's "And this place? Well......" part just gets me every time.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Grizzlies take 2-0 series lead with 5-0 win

The game was played with a physical element early, with the Bulldogs showing an increased urgency to their game. Each side their chances through the early minutes of the period, with the Bulldogs having the better of them but being unable to cash in on them. The best of them certainly was near the middle of the period when Ryan Miotto was sent in alone on the rush by Aaron Bohlinger, and appeared to have Kurtis Chapman down and out on a deke to his backhand, but the puck rolled off his stick. The Bulldogs had a power play opportunity that saw them get a couple of pucks on net in the final minute of it, but they weren't able to get much in the way of sustained pressure. The Grizzlies would earn a four minute power play late in the period on a high stick that drew blood on Alex Campbell, but the Bulldogs killed it off to the buzzer.  Shots werte 12-10 Grizzlies.  lost the handle

The second period saw the Bulldogs kill off the remaining 2:45 of the penalty without not giving up much and supporting Hawthorne. The remainder of the period saw the Bulldogs lose their intensity and the crispness to their game, as they weren't able to move the puck with any degree of accuracy and spent too long in their zone as a result of it. The Grizzlies weren't especially sharp themselves, but were the better team, and eventually took a 1-0 lead just past the midway point of the period as Alex Newhook knocked the puck down at centre, and then blocked a play up the middle before carrying it over the Bulldog line up the left side into the circle where he snapped one top corner, perfectly placed short-side over the blocker of Hawthorne. The goal was unassisted at 10:40 of the second.  A fantastic chance was a game changing moment a few minutes later as a Sam Pouliot shot from the right point resulted in a rebound to the slot that saw Mitchel Deelstra pull it across the crease be be unable to pot the equalizer into an open net as a desperate paddle in mid air by Chapman got enough of it to keep it out, with the post also perhaps getting a chunk of it afterwards. A minute later, it was 2-0 as the Grizzlies connected on the rush when Nico Somerville drove the net and no one picked him up, as he finished a cross-crease pass out of the right corner by Alex Campbell past a lunging Hawthorne. Alex Newhook picked up a second assist on the play at 15:58, however it should have gone to Riley Hughes.  The Bulldogs before and after the goal got away with a surprising number of apparent infractions including a couple of trips and a stick across Kyle McGrath who was in alone on Hawthorne behind the Bulldog defence, but no arms went up. Perhaps not surprisingly, the game became dangerously out of hand soon afterwards, as a Bulldog chance at the Victoria net was stopped by Chapman on a 2 on 1 rush. I didn't see anything at their net following that as I was drawn behind the play where Alex Newhook and Isaac Tonkin-Palmer had just become separated after being tied up for an extended period behind the play with one Referee and one Linesman getting both players separated and diffusing the situation. Or so it appeared, until both Ryan Nolan and Carter Berger would come off the Grizzlies bench to give Tonkin-Palmer the business simultaneously, as one Linesman walked Alex Newhook all the way to the Grizzlies bench.  Nolan would bump into Tonkin-Palmer, and then threw a right hand punch to the head of Tonkin-Palmer at the same time as Berger throwing a couple of high and low cross-checks also on him. A Tonkin-Palmer retaliatory shot resulted in another right by Nolan, which was a moment later followed by cross check across the mouth of Tonkin-Palmer from Nolan. Ryan Miotto had arrived in the interim to play peacemaker and get in front of Berger, with Marcus Walter also arriving to speak to the Referee while Jackson Doucet attempted to get between Nolan and Tonkin-Palmer. A punch thrown by Tonkin-Palmer in response to the cross check was followed by another response punch by Nolan, which was seen by Walter, who then stepped in to defend Tonkin-Palmer. Walter at the time would be manhandled out of the pile all the way across the ice to the penalty boxes while the donneybrook continued, resulting in one Linesman to deal with the other 11 or so players, while one Referee watched with forced the other Referee to physically restrain Brady MacDonald from getting involved. Carter Berger re-engaged in the scene to throw a couple of punches over the pile, that might've actually been delivered onto Ryan Nolan. That would result in Miotto to step back in to control Berger, with Mitchel Deelstra getting into that pile while Jordan Guiney and Nico Somerville hovered with Keaton Mastrodonato on the outskirts with Riley Hughes also stepping in, but only to get Deelstra to leave the fray with him. Whew. I think I got that right - or at least that's how I interpreted it to shake down. Old time hockey? The Officials when the dust settled handed out roughing penalties to Tonkin-Palmer and Deelstra along with a double minor to Berger and only a single minor to Nolan, who might've delivered the most in both quality and quantity of shots out of the group. Nolan also picked up a 10, with Marcus Walter given a 10 and a Game misconduct. In the end, the Bulldogs couldn't cash in on the power play to make it a new game, with a couple of shots on net but no traffic or rebounds allowed by Chapman. Hawthorne would make a great save on the rush at the conclusion of the penalty to keep it a two-goal game after 40 minutes. Shots in the period were 12-7 Grizzlies, for a two period total in their favour of 23-17.

The Bulldogs were on their heels on the opening shift of the third, with Hawthorne tested several times but being able to hold the fort. On the next faceoff an almost carbon copy of the 6th goal from the night before made it 3-0 Grizzlies, as Cole Noble went D-to-D from a faceoff win from the left point to the top of the line for Kenny Johnson who blasted a one-timer that Hawthorne got a large piece of, but it just slid over the line at 1:21 of the third. The bulk of the following ten minutes were uneventful, with the Bulldogs having at most a couple of opportunities but being unable to get much on net in what initially looked like promising rushes. The Bulldogs were sent to the box for spearing with under six minutes to play, They managed to kill the first two minutes, but the Grizzlies cashed in late in the second minor during another interested scenario that saw one Referee and one Linesman both spectating and physically intervening between the benches as Kenny Johnson and Austin Spiridakis were tied up and throwing punches. The whistle wouldn't sound and play continued and it became 4-0 as Carter Berger put a backhand feed across the crease to the back post where Hawthorne made a valiant attempt and got a pad on a Kyle McGrath one-timer but it went high short-side off him and in. Jeremie Bucheler also got an assist at 14:06 of the third. One final tally came at the end of a long shift in the Bulldog zone that ended when Alex Campbell was set up at the top of the crease on a short pass from Alex Newhook that was all set up when Riley Hughes was allowed to walk across the zone off the wall into the hashmarks. That would complete the scoring at 17:53 of the third. 

Shots in the third were 19-5 Victoria, for a game total of 42-22 in their favour. Kurtis Chapman earned the win and 2nd star honours with the shut out, with John Hawthorne taking the loss. Unofficially, the Bulldogs went 0 for 3 on the power play while the Grizzlies went 1 for 4. 

The Bulldogs host the Grizzlies Tuesday night for Game Three and Wednesday night for Game Four. 



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Bulldogs visit Grizzlies tonight for Game Two at the Q

It's Game two of this Best of Seven Island Division Semi Final,  as the Bulldogs visit the Grizzlies tonight looking to respond and even the series at 1-1 to take home ice advantage back to the Multiplex for Game Three Tuesday night.

RESPOND is what the Bulldogs must do, as they took one on the chin last night in falling 8-3 in the series opener. The Grizzlies elevated their game, and the Bulldogs just plain didn't. They started a step behind and trailed just over a minute into the game. While they showed some resolve in hanging around and fighting back, the Grizzlies kept the push on and the Bulldogs couldn't recover.

It is a series - whether you lose a game or win a game 1-0 in quadruple overtime or by a 10-1 score is irrelevant and in the past. Park it, learn from it and respond to it.

Pacific Chevrolet Bulldogs Hockey will be on the air on 93.3 The Peak FM for our pregame show once again starting at 6:45, with the game action to follow the 7:00pm puck drop. I'll take care of the hosting and play-by-play responsibilities while Bruce MacDonald handles the game analysis and colour commentary.

Tonight's 2nd Intermission guest is former Bulldog Cole Poliziani, currently playing his Freshman season with the NCAA's Trinity College Bantams.  Cole was HUGE in the series last year against the Grizzlies, with six points in seven games. He had a couple critical moments early in the series, tying Game 1 in the third period before winning it in overtime. In Game 2, he again tied it in the third period on a penalty shot before the Bulldogs won it in overtime.

If you aren't in listening range of 93.3 The Peak FM you can listen/watch the game by:

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Friday, March 01, 2019

Grizzlies hammer Bulldogs 8-3 to take 1-0 series lead

The Bulldogs fell into a 1-0 hole just over a minute into the contest, as Brady MacDonald took a pass behind the Grizzlies goal line from Kurtis Chapman off a Bulldog dump in. He would play it ahead up the right wing for Marty Westhaver, who carried it up the wall and over the Bulldog line where he was poke checked by Aaron Bohlinger. It would bounce right back onto Westhaver's tape, before he put a rink-wide pass to the deep slot for Nico Somerville, who snapped one short-side past the blocker of Hawthorne at 1:12 of the first. Assists on the play incorrectly went to Henri Schreifels and Kyle McGrath. The Bulldogs did a good job to get in the game over the following minutes, not letting the deficit grow. They would earn a power play a few minutes later when Michael Hodge hustled onto a loose puck where he was cut by a high stick. The Bulldogs had several good opportunities and six shots on the four-minute power play, but Chapman made a couple good saves to protect the lead, with Hawthorne also tested on a shorthanded rush that he kept out. The Grizzlies doubled their lead later in the period, benefitting on what looked like an icing call that was waved off at centre ice that led to a long attacking zone sequence that saw Kenny Johnson dump the puck from the left point to the right corner where it was retrieved by Alex Newhook. He would drop it to Alex Campbell, who fought past a Bulldog defender and across the crease to somehow get it through Hawthorne to make it 2-0 at 14:07 of the first, with Alex Newhook and Riley Hughes given the helpers. The Bulldogs would answer back quickly to get back into it, as Stephen Castagna played an Aaron Bohlinger rim up the left wing to the middle of the zone where it was put rink-wide onto the tape of Isaac Tonkin-Palmer who put a head man pass onto the tape of Mitchel Deelstra in full flight up the left wing who fought around a defender into the left circle where he beat Chapman, but hit the crossbar. It would carom right to the top of the crease where it hit the shin pad of Kenny Johnson and bounced in to make it 2-1 at 16:53 of the first. Assists on the play went to John Hawthorne - who did not touch the puck - and Stephen Castagna. Shots in the period were 20-13 Grizzlies.

The second period began with the Grizzlies on the power play for just under a minute, with the Bulldogs defending well to keep it a one-goal game. Evan Googins would have a great chance to tie it exiting the penalty box to skate in on a breakaway, but Chapman made a big save with his blocker to protect the 2-1 lead. John Hawthorne would come up with a breakaway save of his own a few minutes later, staring down Marty Westhaver to keep it a one-goal game. A few minutes later what would end up being a gigantic turning point saw Jackson Doucet take a late, blindside, blow to head from Jeremie Bucheler. It not only took him out of the game permanently,  but it also resulted in neither of the two Referees calling a penalty, with also neither of the two Linesman being able to assist them in calling a Major Penalty after the whistle. It's hard to understand none of the four Officials seeing it, but perhaps that could've been due to the lateness of it, as Doucet had already passed the puck. Instead of the Bulldogs being on what one could argue was a five minute power play in an attempt to tie game and take the lead, they would take an undisciplined penalty as tempers flared, and the  Grizzlies would blow the game wide open, going up 3-1 on a broken play on the rush as Alex Newhook cut in on goal where Hawthorne made the save while taking contact from Newhook and his defender which took him off his feet. He wouldn't be able to recover before a rink-wide pass out of the right corner was just slid home by Carter Berger, with Riley Hughes also drawing an assist at 8:19 of the second. Less than two minutes later it was 4-1 as a cross-crease pass appeared to be well defended, but instead took a bounce again off a Bulldog and right onto the tape of Cameron Thompson who snapped it home into the open side before Hawthorne could cross the crease, with Alex Campbell and Charlie Campbell getting the assists at 11:21 of the second.  A futher minute and change afterwards it was a 5-1 game on another play that was similar to the previous play in that it looked to be well defended initially in front, only to end up right onto the tape of Carter Berger inside the hashmarks where he fought it on net high over Hawthorne to conclude the barrage, with Alex Campbell and Alex Hewhook at 12:40 of the second. The Grizzlies would have ample opportunities to build their lead, and eventually tacked on another one with under a minute to play in the period as Alex Newhook won a draw in the Dogs zone back to the left point for ColeNoble, who went D-to-D across the line to the top of the point for Kenny Johnnson who blasted a one-timer glove side past a screened Hawthorne to make it 6-1 at 19:09 of the second. Shots in the period were 19-5 Victoria, for a 39-17 edge after 40 minutes.

The Bulldogs earned a power play inside the first minute of the third, on what appeared to be minimal contact at best on an Issac Tonkin-Palmer attempt to split the D and drive the net. The Bulldogs would make good on the opportunity, as Ryan Miotto set up Aaron Bohlinger at the top of the point where he threw a high wrister on goal that was deflected home through the legs of Chapman by Josh Zary. The Grizzlies would complain, not without reason as it certainly looked to be close to the crossbar. The Referee at the net signalled goal immediately, and that call stood as it was 6-2 at 1:09 of the third. The Bulldogs continued to push, but couldn't make it a three goal game before the Grizzlies replied on a pretty goal off a draw in the Dogs zone that saw Jeremie Bucheler put a low shot to the slot where Alex Campbell perfectly deflected it top corner, high over the glove of Cole Demers (who came on to start the period) to make it 7-2 at 3:57 of the third. The Bulldogs made good on another power play two minutes later when a similar set up to the previous goal saw Aaron Bohlinger fire a one-timer off a Ryan Miotto set up from the top of the point low and wide of the net stick side on Chapman. Keaton Mastrodonato would pounce on the end-board bounce to lift it home short-side to again trim the gap to 7-3 at 6:05 of the period. The Bulldogs weren't able to trim away further at the deficit as the Grizzlies salted the time away into the final five minutes. The Bulldogs where then awarded a power play as Kurtis Chapman appeared to show some intent in swing his stick heel first into the face of Keaton Mastrodonato in the crease at the end of a scramble to earn a minor penalty. The Bulldogs threatened early in the advantage, before an unfortunate bounce on a D-to-D pass caught bad ice and bounced out of the zone. Kurtis Chapman would rim the dump in to the far corner where Kenny Johnson relayed it ahead up the left wing for Jordan Gainey, who put a perfect backhand flip to a wide open Marty Westhaver behind the defence at centre ice where he made no mistake with a quick release stick side on Demers for the shorthanded tally to complete the scoring at 16:13 of the third. Assists would go to Chapman and Bucheler instead of Gainey and Johnson to complete the scoring.

Third period shots were 14-10 Grizzlies, for a game total in their favour of 53-27 with John Hawthorne taking the loss giving up six goals on thirty nine shots through forty minutes before being replaced my Cole Demers while Kurtis Chapman picked up the win. The Bulldogs went 2 for 5 on the power play, while the Grizzlies went 0 for 2 while also scoring once while shorthanded.

Gamre two goes tomorrow night at the Q Centre, a 7:00 puck drop.



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Bulldogs visit Grizzlies tonight for Game One

After a seven game battle in the first round last year, these teams meet again in the post season as the Bulldogs (21-34-3-0, 4th Island)  visit the Grizzlies (36-18-0-4, 1st Island) tonight at the Q Centre in Victoria for Game one of this best-of-seven series.

The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 3-2 shoot out win over the Powell River Kings Sunday afternoon at home to snap a two game losing streak. The Grizzlies also last played Sunday afternoon at home, where they won a second consecutive game 7-4 over the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

The Bulldogs won the most recent meeting between these teams, 3-1 in Victoria on Saturday, February 16th. The Grizzlies took the season series with a head to head record of 5-3-0-0 for 10 points, while the Bulldogs went 3-3-2-0 for 8 points. The Grizzlies out scored the Bulldogs 28-19, and went 8 for 39 on the power play. The Bulldogs went 3 for 31 while scoring once while short handed, and were out shot by the Grizzlies in the season series 331-282. 

You can forget about ALLLLL of the above though, as it all means absolutely nothing now as the slate is wiped clean and the teams and players all have a stat line of zero. Are you a player that has had an average or disappointing season and want to atone for it? Or are you a player who's had a good season, and do you want to prove that you have the same success individually and with your team when it REALLY matters? Well this is what it's all about.

Here's a quick look at the standings as of today.....zeros across the board. Everything as of today is in the past. 

I have been very lucky in my career to witness some fantastic playoff runs - five league championships, two Royal Bank Cup tournaments and two semi final series in the BCHL. I'm hoping the Dogs can make this run a long one was well. Playoffs are everything, it's why we are involved in the game. They are about passion, intensity, drive and sacrifice. At the same time, they are about the opposite - composure, discipline, playing smart.  Mostly, they are about having a short memory. What happened last game/period/play doesn't matter, it's only about what's up next. 

One quote that always stuck with me at this time of year comes from former Bulldog Coach Nolan Graham (2009-2010), who basically outlined it like this - One night you can be sky high off a huge overtime win and the next you can be so low after a tough loss that you are lower than a snakes belly in a tire rut. Win or loss, you have to play the next day.  PARK IT and look to the next play/shift/period/game.  Expect the unexpected. Look no further than last year. If ANYONE tells you that they would've predicted the Dogs to race out to a 3-0 series lead, might I suggest asking them if they are selling lanes on their bridge to Vancouver from the Island. 

One thing that can be expected is - adversity. Last year, the Bulldogs faced it in losing three defenceman in the first period of Game three at home. They got a couple back, but they weren't the same, before losing a fourth defenceman the next night. The Bulldogs didn't wilt when that faced them last year. If anything I was impressed with how close they came to winning that fourth game to advance considering how uphill the climb suddenly became, out of no where, when it looked like they were at the top of the mountain and it was going to be all downhill the rest of the way. Certainly not. Expect the unexpected. Again, have a short memory - I've seen the Dogs win game one on the road only to lose the next four and have their season end in Game 5. I've seen them go down 3-0 in a series, and be down by three goals late in the third period to not only win that game, but the next two, to take Game 7 into the final 10 minutes of the third tied 1-1. I've seen them take a 2-0 series lead with a 13-2 win.... yes THIRTEEN...only to drop the next four straight to lose the series in Game 6. You just never know. Control what you can control, try to minimize the swings in momentum and just keep playing and skating. It's all so simple to say, of course and much harder to do.  

A final thought on adversity. How do you deal with it? Be being resilient. It's not a stretch to argue that the Bulldogs most consistent attribute through this season has been that they have been consistently inconsistent. Looking a little deeper and reflecting on the 58 games played to this point, one thing that has always stood out with this team to a man is their resilience, stubbornness and their outright refusal to pack it in or "check out" when the going has gotten tough. An argument could perhaps be made that I've highlighted this character trait to try and find a positive in a loss, and a point could conceded there as I always admit that I'm guilty of being positive to a fault. 

I don't buy that though. There have been too many games to mention this season where the Bulldogs have made a mistake or two, and had a couple of minutes off where the puck ended up in their net and they painted themselves into a corner. They NEVER threw in the towel or tried to get out of the ring. They just kept swinging... and skating, and more often than not they fought their way back into games that they looked completely out of. While it's an intangible that will serve them well when the going gets tough, let's hope that they've learned it's best not to end up in that position. 

Drop the puck already!

I'm sure that they'll be a sizable contingent of Bulldog fans making the trip down tonight, but for those that can't it's always our goal to make it feel like you're there. Be sure to tune in to Pacific Chevrolet Bulldogs Hockey on 93.3 The Peak FM, with our pregame show on the air starting at 6:45 with the puck drop and play-by-play to follow at 7:00. Dan Tisserand tabulates team and player stats, Bruce MacDonald provides analysis and adds colour commentary and I'll call the play-by-play.

Catch the final edition of the Island Division this Week in the 2nd Intermission tonight, with the Island play-by-play voices providing an end of season recap and a playoff preview. A special thanks to Dan Marshall of 106.9 the Wolf in Nanaimo for conceiving this idea and doing the lions share of the work along with Alex Rawnsley in Powell River, with a tip of the cap to Scott Didmon of the Grizzlies and Justis Doucet of the Capitals for their contributions to the report all year long. 

If you aren't in listening range of 93.3 The Peak FM you can listen/watch the game by:

Listening Live on your computer:
Listening Live on your SmartPhone :
Watching Live on your computer/SmartPhone


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog - and there never will be, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Just click HERE. . . and thank you very much. *

*As eloquently said by Gregg Drinnan of Taking Note - the best hockey/sports blog around