Late comeback not enough to bring the Bulldogs a win against the Crusaders

Photo Credit: Tom Grimsdale
Article Credit: Alessia Proietti, rdnewsNOW

A late comeback was not enough for the Blackfalds Bulldogs to win the game on Friday night against the Sherwood Park Crusaders, losing 4-3 at the Eagle Builders Centre.

After a three-week long road trip that went 1-2-1-0, the loss at their first returning home game makes it four in a row.

The Crusaders claimed the lead 1-0 in the first period with a goal by Adam Raesler at 5 :48 on Bulldogs goaltender Gabe Gratton.

At 12:41, the visitors’ Connor Gengle doubled their lead 2-0.

While no goals were scored for Blackfalds, they were greatly outshooting Sherwood Park 19-6 after 20 minutes of play.

In the middle frame, the Crusaders’ Hunter Price scored at 14:59, pushing the team ahead 3-0.

And shortly after at 16:51, Sherwood Park’s Cade Christenson scored a goal to make their lead 4-0.

This time it was the Crusaders who outshot the Bulldogs 12-9.

But the Bulldogs completely changed the tune of the game in the final period. Luke Dahlen first shuffled in a goal at 5:29 during a rush inside the crease of Crusaders netminder Erick Roest. His fourth goal this BCHL season was assisted by Hunter Brown and Easton Adrian to put the team behind 4-1.

Not even a minute later, Blackfalds’ Jayden Joly scored his third goal of the season with a one-timer from the high slot. With Trent LeDrew and Alexander Dimitriadis getting the helpers, the team cut their deficit 4-2.

With about a minute and a half left in regulation, the Bulldogs pulled out netminder Gratton to try to tie the game.

It was to their advantage as Dakota MacIntosh scored his fourth goal this season from the low slot and off the post, with just 20 seconds left on the clock. With Dahlen and Ryan Neumann claiming the assists, the Bulldogs were now only behind 4-3, but fell short of evening the score.

Blackfalds outshot Sherwood Park 15-14 in the third period.

Shots on goal

SPC: 32

BFB: 43

Power play

SPC: 0/2

BFB: 0/0

McWilliam Auto Services Three stars

1st: Noah Wills (SPC) – 3A

2nd: Luke Dahlen (BFB) – 1G, 1A

3rd: Jayden Joly (BFB) – 1G

The loss keeps the Bulldogs in third place among BCHL Alberta teams with a record of 4-5-2-0 while the win has the Crusaders in second place at 8-3-1-0.

Bulldogs Head Coach Doug Quinn said while the Crusaders are a highly skilled team who took advantage of their opportunities, it doesn’t take much for turnovers or to get caught out of position.

“I thought that we did a lot of good things, but we were too offensive in our thinking; pinching when we really shouldn’t or jumping up into the offence or thinking offence when it really wasn’t a good time,” he said.

Speaking on the contrast in scoring between the first and third periods, Quinn said the team made changes to their lines.

“[We] kind of reinforced maybe the style of play that we needed to play, and I find the kids came out with a little bit more urgency. Once we got that first run, then [it] just changes the momentum of the game and we definitely had an opportunity to score the fourth goal,” he said.

Dahlen, Bulldogs forward and second star of tonight’s game, also commented on the team’s slow start.

“We waited a little too long to get that push going but it happens. Hopefully we can build off that third period and go into Brooks strong tomorrow,” he said, referring to tomorrow night’s game against the Bandits.

With Brooks leading among Alberta teams in the BCHL, Quinn says the Bulldogs will have to play with better defence.

“We’re going to have to play a complete game. We have too many lapses and we get scored on and if we tighten up defensively and minimize the chances we’re giving up and maybe capitalize on a few more of ours, then we’ll have success,” he said.

With the BCHL having recently announced their playoff format, Quinn said the Bulldogs will need to get better quickly as they will be playing some teams of strong calibre.

“There’s no easy games and we’re definitely pushing to get that first round by but it’s going to be exciting for our players and for the fans to see some great hockey,” he said.

Dahlen echoed a similar sentiment regarding the remainder of the regular season, wrapping up on April 6.

“Every game is important in this league; it’s small, only five teams. We got to be ready for every opponent. There’s no nights off; we kind of learnt that tonight,” he said.

The Bulldogs will play against the Bandits on Saturday at the Centennial Regional Arena. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. with the broadcast live on Mixlr.

Leave a Reply