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Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Clippers take 3-0 series lead with 3-2 win in Game three

The start was energetic, and physical with the Bulldogs having a couple solid hits early. They had the first couple of  shots on net too, before the Clippers put a couple of their own on net. Then the game would be changed drastically when the Bulldogs were penalized on an Ethan Scardina net drive. The Clippers were dangerous throughout it, with Luke Pearson coming up with a couple big saves in tight early in it. They kept pushing, and took a 1-0 lead on a Liam Ryan deflection from the top of the crease off an Aiden Hansen-Bukata point shot. Also drawing an assist on the play was Steven Agriogianis at  7:21 of the first. A minute and change later, the Bulldogs were penalized yet again. The Clippers would push hard to build the lead, but Pearson was solid and the penalty killers held on to kill it off. The Bulldogs kept clawing away, and finally earned a power play of their own with under four minutes to play in the period. They would have a couple of looks on it, but couldn't generate a Grade A chance to beat Jordan Naylor to tie it up. Shots in the first were 20-8 Nanaimo.

The second period saw the Bulldogs have a fantastic chance just 15 seconds into the period as Mitchel Deelstra got in alone down the right wing and in on Naylor, who made a glove save to keep it 1-0. Seconds later, the Bulldogs lost a board battle in their zone and Kyler Kovich was allowed to walk right in tight to the faceoff dot where he picked the far corner, low-stick side just inside the post to make it 2-0, with Ethan Scardina assisting at 58 seconds into the period. The Bulldogs spent the  next few minutes on the defensive, and Luke Pearson was solid to keep it a two-goal game. He would be further tested throughout the period, with the Bulldogs being penalized three times, one appearing to be a complete phantom call on Ryan Doolin. Pearson kept them in it repeatedly, with big saves around his net, and a big save on a 3 on 1 rush in the late stages of the period on Kyler Kovich deflection attempt on a cross-ice set up. Shots in the period were 19-8 Nanaimo, for a 40 minute total in their favour of 39-20.

The Bulldogs came out again flying to start the third, with Mitchel Deelstra again getting a step in on net. Naylor would make the save from a sharp angle, before Dawson Tritt was drilled from behind bringing about a Bulldog power play. They would cash in on it on a pretty passing play, as Jackson Munro set  up Ryan Doolin walking in off the right point. He put a perfectly placed backdoor pass onto the tape of Jackson Doucet, who deflected it home top corner over the blocker of Naylor to make it 2-1 at 1:33 of the third. The Bulldogs came painfully close to tying the game in the following few minutes, but couldn't get a bounce around the Nanaimo net as it looked tied on several occasions but the puck stayed out. The period wore on into the back half of it, where the Clippers padded their lead on yet another hard to even believe break as an end-board bounce saw the Referee inadvertently kick it out of the reach of Mitchel Deelstra, and onto the tape of Tim Washe, who played it back to the left point for Aiden Hansen-Bukata, who scored on a wrist shot through traffic that snuck inside the far post past the glove of Pearson to make it 3-1 at 11:22 of the third, with Kyler Kovich also drawing an assist. The Bulldogs didn't sit back but instead got right back on the attack, and less than two minutes later were back within one as Isaac Pascoal fought the puck initially out of the Bulldogs zone, before winning a battle in the Nanaimo end on the right  wing where Tim Gould found it, and walked to the slot before dishing off to Dawson Tritt at the right side of the net where he went high over Naylor to make it 3-2 at 13:37 of the third. The Bulldogs would push to the final buzzer, with several near misses around the net, but couldn't find the equalizer.

Third period shots were 21-11 Bulldogs, for a game total of 50-41 Clippers. Jordan Naylor earned the win while Luke Pearson took the loss while earning 2nd star honours. The Bulldogs were 1 for 3 on the power play while the Clippers were 1 for 5.

Break out all the cliches - the teams next meet for Game four Thursday night. It's win and move on for the Clippers, while it's win or go home for the Bulldogs.



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