The Alberni Valley Bulldogs had their first off-day of the Island Division Semi-final on Sunday, however there was no rest in sight for the club. After a team building event, the players took the Multiplex ice last night in search of a turning point in a series that has seen them fall behind two games to none to the Nanaimo Clippers.
“I think if you look at parts of games one and two, there are positives for us to draw from” said Bulldogs head coach and general manager Joe Martin. “We were in both games and if somethings had gone a little different we might have come home with a split. Instead we’re down 2-0 in the series. We’re going to clean some things up and get ourselves back in this series.”
Their next opportunity is tomorrow night in Game 3 at the Multiplex. Game time is 7:00 pm.
The Clippers Josh Bourne has had his way with the Bulldogs in the first two games of the series. The Clippers leading scorer from the regular season had 8 points in games one & two. In fact, Bourne’s dominance of the Bulldogs has stretched out over the entire season series. In 19 games, Bourne has a staggering 19 points.
The Bulldogs managed to generate some offence as they found the back of the net 6 times in Nanaimo. Perhaps even more encouraging is the fact that they’ve received some secondary scoring with Jacob Bosse netting a pair and Oliver Fizet, and Isaac Pascoal chipping in early in the series. Should the Bulldogs continue to get production from those players, it could bode well for them to get back into the series. “I think whenever you can get some goals from up and down the line-up it sets you up well” said Martin.
The biggest wild card for the Bulldogs may very well be the Dawg Pound itself. While the Clippers were an impressive 23-4-1-1 on home ice this season, they’ve been a very average 14-13-1-1 away from the Frank Crane Arena.
Bulldogs president David Michaud hopes that the people of Port Alberni are there to support this group. “We’ve done some really good things on home ice this year and quite honestly we need their help. I always say, you’re never in trouble until you lose on home ice. We’ve got to come home and hold serve so to speak. Nanaimo delivered two really solid crowds for their club on the weekend and now it’s our turn. This place can be an absolute zoo when our fans get going and I’ve told lots of our players that it will be something special. I hope our players get to see what the Dawg Pound is really like during the playoffs.”
The Bulldogs are expecting a boost in their line-up with the return of Josh Zary from injury. Zary was injured several weeks ago during a freak accident with a linesman. Zary was pulled backwards and suffered a lower body injury in the process. His return will be a boost for the locker room. “Josh is a big part of our hockey club, our players will be excited to have him back in the room and on the ice.” said Joe Martin.
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