Bulldogs lose 4-3 to Bandits in first overtime game in BCHL season

Article and Photo Credit: Alessia Proietti, rdnewsNOW

The Blackfalds Bulldogs lost 4-3 to the Brooks Bandits at the Eagle Builders Centre on Friday in their first overtime game of the BCHL season.

At their last match together on Saturday, the Bulldogs served the Bandits with their first loss after a 13-game winning streak.

The Bulldogs opened the scoreboard in the first period, with Alexander Dimitriadis picking up a loose puck and scoring a goal through the back door of Bandits goaltender Sam Scopa. With Tanner Willick and Jayden Joly claiming the assists at 13:27, the home team led 1-0.

However, at 16:22, Brooks’ Hunter Wallace scored on Blackfalds netminder Gabe Gratton, tying the game 1-1.

The Bandits were outshooting the Bulldogs 12-9 after 20 minutes of play.

The Bulldogs regained their lead early in the second period at 5:50 as Brendan Ross scored a goal from a rebound off the goaltender and through the five-hole. His third goal this BCHL season was assisted by Dakota MacIntosh, putting the team in a 2-1 lead.

Less than two minutes later and from inside the crease, Ryan Neumann scored his first goal as a Bulldog. With Easton Adrian and Carter Cormier getting the helpers, the team carried their lead to 3-1.

Blackfalds claimed puck dominance in the middle frame, outshooting Brooks 13-5.

The Bandits caught up quickly in the final period. The team began shorthanded from a penalty given in the final four seconds of the previous period. Even so, Hughie Hooker scored a goal within the first 11 seconds, cutting their deficit to 3-2.

With the Bulldogs’ Ross sent to the box for boarding, the Bandits’ Nick Peluso scored a power play goal at 4:29, tying the game 3-3.

Unable to top off the period with any more goals, the game went into overtime. However, the Bulldogs would be starting with one man down after Cormier got a tripping penalty in the final three seconds of regulation.

Brooks outshot Blackfalds this time 12-9 in the third period.

Beginning in overtime with the man advantage, the Bandits’ Mirko Buttazzoni scored a power play goal just before the second minute, brining his team to a 4-3 win.

Brooks had two shots on goal in overtime while Blackfalds had none.

Shots on goal

BRK: 31

BFB: 31

Power play

BRK: 2/4

BFB: 0/5

Three stars

1st: Alexander Dimitriadis (BFB) – 1G

2nd: Hughie Hooker (BRK) – 1G, 1A

3rd: Ryan Neumann (BFB) – 1G

The loss puts the Bulldogs in third place among the Alberta teams with a record of 2-2-1-0 while the win keeps the Bandits in first place at 5-1-0-0.

Bulldogs Assistant Coach Brady Bakke said their loss of the lead in the third period was a “tough pill to swallow” and the team needs to learn to play the full 60 minutes.

“It’s kind of cliché and everyone talks about it but the first minute of every period and the last minute of every period is really huge. You got to be ready to go and our group just wasn’t ready to go for the puck drop in the third period and that stuff is going to happen at times, but we got to find a way to minimize those opportunities,” he said.

He gave a shoutout to first-star player Dimitriadis, earning his 101st point in his 150th career junior hockey game, and Neumann for earning his first point with the team.

For their next game, Bakke says the Bulldogs will have to keep getting pucks to the net and maintaining chaos in front of the goaltender.

The Bulldogs will face the Spruce Grove Saints on Sunday at the Eagle Builders Centre. Puck drop is at 2 p.m. with the broadcast live on Mixlr.

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