The Bulldogs had good jump early, and the first few pucks on net in the early minutes, before the Clippers pushed back on a lengthy attacking zone shift, where the Bulldogs failed on several separate instances to clear the puck, but also succeeded in blocking a couple shots. The Bulldogs pushed back, and had a couple good opportunities around the Nanaimo net, but couldn't bury them to open the scoring. The Clippers would earn a power play eight minutes into the period, but the Bulldogs killed it off with Jackson Glassford coming up with a couple big saves, battling through considerable traffic in his crease. Another Bulldog penalty just a minute after they killed the previous one off saw the Clippers open the scoring, as Devon Mussio walked down the left wing and put a wrist shot at the goal that appeared to be deflected high short-side over the shoulder of Glassford. Mussio wouldn't celebrate with his teammates, but instead taunted the Bulldog bench with his hand to his ear - or so it appeared. The assists went to Kyler Kovich and Tim Washe at 12:11 of the first. An incredible eight seconds later, the Bulldogs responded to tie it at 1-1 as Caige Sterzer fought the faceoff forward and through a defender and drove the net where Naylor made the first save, but couldn't control the rebound. Olivier Fizet would pounce on it, and finish it top corner, short-side at 12:19 of the first. The score stayed that way until the dying seconds of the period when the Bulldogs took the lead as Jimmy Rayhill flipped the puck through centre ice where Matthew Grouchy tipped it ahead for Ryan Doolin. He would drive the net up the right wing, and then lunge around a defender to poke a one-hander over Naylor. Shots in the period were 17-16 Clippers.
The second period began with the Clippers earning a third straight power play to open the game, as it looked to me that Tommy Bannister simply defended well in tying his man up driving the net. Late in the advantage, the Clippers would fail to keep the puck in, and were stuck on a delayed off-side. The play was immediately blown dead. As is usually the case - or as far as I've seen 100% of the time, the faceoff goes all the way down the ice. In this instance, it inexplicably does not, and instead goes right outside the blue line. The Bulldogs were incensed, rightfully so on the bench, but the complaints fell on deaf ears. The double whammy of not having the clock continue to run on a delayed offside while on the penalty kill, combined with a faceoff outside their line, saw the Clippers score with 1 second remaining in the penalty as Trevor LeDonne put a wrist shot low inside the far post to make it 2-2 at 3:49 of the second, with assists to Liam Ryan and Joshua Bourne. The logic should be simple enough to understand - the Bulldogs are killing a penalty, the Clippers are the team on a delayed offside. The Bulldogs want the clock to keep running. They haven't done anything to cause a stoppage of play - the Clippers did. The ramifications were of course HUGE - and it's unfortunate to have a blown call at this juncture of the season have an impact as large as this one did. Thankfully, the Bulldogs would again respond to take the lead back, as Jackson Munro took a Mattias Dal Monte pass and drove the puck into the Nanaimo zone, lost it, and got back before putting a cross-ice pass into the right circle for Matthew Grouchy, who fanned on his initial attempt before just throwing it on goal where it snuck home five hole on Naylor to make it 3-2 at 7:24 of the second. The Bulldogs didn't have the lead back for long though, as a minute later it was 3-3 as Devon Mussio accepted a pass in the left circle where he threw a shot on goal that snuck home long-side under the glove of Glassford. Assisting was Joshua Bourne at 8:24 of the second. The teams traded chances into the back half of the period, when the Clippers took the lead back as the Bulldogs iced in and had a tired group on the ice and failed to get a change before it ended up in the back of their net as Josh Kagan picked up a Josh Bourne pass in the slot where he picked the top corner over the blocker of Glassford to make it 4-3 at 15:01 of the second, with Robby Drazner also assisting. The Bulldogs finally earned their first power play of the game with under three minutes to play in the second, and looked dangerous on it but couldn't cash in to tie the game. The best chance saw Mitchel Deelstra blow the doors off a defender to get in alone on Naylor, who made a great left toe save to keep it just off the goal line. Shots in the period were 18-14 Clippers, for a 35-30 advantage after 40 minutes.
The Clippers added to their lead just short of two minutes into the third, as Josh Kagan raced up the left wing over the line on a 1 on 1 where he put a low wrist shot that just snuck through the fivehole of Glassford, and slowly slid over the line to make it 5-3 at 1:54 of the third, with assists to Josh Bourne and Steven Agriogianis. The Clippers did a good job to not allow the Bulldogs the opportunity to manage much of an attempt to get back in it through the remainder of the period. The Bulldogs earned a power play with under seven minutes to play in the contest, but didn't look good on it, twice misplaying the puck on retrievals into their zone. The culmination would be a 6-3 Nanaimo lead when the last defenseman back put it directly onto the tape of Josh Bourne, who walked in alone where he went five-hole on Jackson Glassford to make it 6-3 at 16:14 of the third. The following minute, the game got nasty, and the Officiating remained..... insert adjective here. Dawson Tritt threw a hit at the Bulldog bench, that saw an initial retaliation by Travis Walton that brought about a delayed penalty. Trevor LeDonne would also attempt to retailiate on Tritt, who cross-checked him in defense. In the end, the Officials ended up forgetting, I guess that they had called the first penalty on Walton, and instead called LeDonne for the retaliation, with I guess the logic being he somehow delivered a cross-check while also receiving the cross-check from Tritt? My best guess. The final 20 plus seconds were....dangerous, but thankfully without any large incidents.
Third period shots were 9-3 Clippers, for a game total of 44-33 Clippers, with Jordan Naylor and Luke Pearson being the goalies of record. The Clippers went 2 for 3 on the power play while the Bulldogs went 0 for 2.