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A solid start by the Bulldogs, as they had several Grade A scoring chances while carrying the better of the play through the opening five minutes as Zach Dyment was solid in the Trail net. The Dogs kept up the pressure, and had a great shift end up with a loose puck on the goal line that looked to be destined to end up over the line but Jonas Gordan knocked it off the stick of Mackenzie Wight with a goal saving defensive play. The Bulldogs would take the first penalty of the game, but didn't give up a shot in killing it off. They were penalized again soon afterwards, but drew a penalty with great effort initially in their own zone as Jordan Sandhu cleared the puck. Tristan Bukovec would then fly in on the forecheck and steal the puck behind the Smokies net. He would put a perfect pass up the middle that was one-timed on goal by Jake Witkowski, with a Bulldog being dumped in front of the net without the puck. After four-on-four hockey ended, the Dogs stuck quickly on the short power play as Jordan Sandhu fed the puck back to the left point for Darren Rizzolo. He went D-to-D across the line to Cole Slaney at the right point, where he simply threw a quick wrist shot at the net. Tristan Bukovec was planted at the lip of the crease where he tipped it home past the glove of Dyment to make it 1-0 at 14:43 of the first. The Dogs would press hard to build their lead on another power play as the period wore down, but despite some great pressure they couldn't build their lead. Shots in the first favoured the Dogs 12-7.
The Bulldogs kept up their solid play to start the second, taking a 2-0 lead just short of four minutes into the period on the power play as Jordan Sandhu made a great play to keep the puck in at the right point before finding Tristan Bukovec on the right half wall. He threw a hard pass cross ice, where Connor Welsh picked it up on the left half wall and set up Cayden Kraus in tight where he beat Dyment with a pretty five-hole deke with 3:42 gone in the second. It was 3-0 Dogs just under two minutes later on a faceoff win in the Smoke Eater zone back to Paul Savage at the right point. He would find Cayden Kraus, who's shot was blocked back onto the stick of Savage. He would simply throw the puck at the net, where it was deflected home short-side by Alex MacDonald at 5:32 of the second. Less than a minute later the Dogs ended up in the penalty box again, but again killed it off with Carson Schamerhorn making a sizzling save on a one-timer set up for Braeden Tuck. The Smoke Eaters came close on a seeing eye wrist shot from the point that hit the crossbar and stayed out, with the Dogs defence doing a good job of clearing pucks around the net. The Dogs would call time out as they iced it at the end of the kill, and they would jump all over the Smokies following it, going up 4-0 on a gorgeous goal on the rush as Ryan Steele chipped the puck up the right wing for Cayden Kraus. He would gain the Smoke Eaters zone and drop it back for Alex MacDonald and the drive the net where MacDonald put a perfect pass on his tape off the back post that he one-timed home, short-side high at 11:16 of the second. The Dogs would continue to dominate the play, hemming the Smoke Eaters in their zone. A penalty against Jake Witkowski would go un-called, and immediately following it a soft call went against the Dogs at the Smokies net. It would drastically change the game, but the Dogs bent and didn't break, killing the penalty off and a 32 second 5 on 3 power play off to protect their lead into the third period. Shots in the second favoured Trail 14-12 for a two period total of 24-21 Bulldogs.
The third period time absolutely flew by, as the Dogs played great fundamental hockey, defending their blue line and repeately sending the Smoke Eaters back deep into their zone to retrieve pucks. The Smokies would press to get back in it, but Carson Schamerhorn was sharp when called upon and his defence again supported him well around the net. The Smoke Eaters would break the shut out bid of Schamerhorn on an icing call against the Bulldogs, as the ensuing draw saw a battle on the wall result in Luke Santerno walking to the right circle where he scored on a perfectly placed shot, top corner, short-side high over Schamerhorn to make it 4-1, with assists going to Braeden Tuck and Spencer McLean at 13:38 of the third. That would be as close as they got as the Dogs killed the rest of the clock and didn't give up much the rest of the way.
Third period shots favoured the Smoke Eaters 11-4 for a game total of 32-28 Trail, with Carson Schamerhorn earning 1st star honours with the win while zach Dyment took the loss. The Dogs went 2 for 4 on the power play while the Smoke Eaters went 0 for 5, a big difference in the game.
The Dogs are next in action tomorrow afternoon when they host the Powell River Kings.