Making it easy just isn’t our style!
Needing just a tie to go on, Game 3 of the series turned into a nailbiter.
Forest Hill cut their roster down to 12 for this game (against the NYHL rules – for what it’s worth). They played their best players a lot. A lot! Those players gave our defence fits. Especially number 10, who scored a hat trick in the second period, and kept coming at us all game long.
The Bulldogs way isn’t to roll over (well, maybe roll over and play dead is a dog thing, but not for these Bulldogs).
We started out in an even battle, a good first couple of shifts had us feeling good, and some solid saves from Michael steadied the squad. Then Ryan Y. found a way through the defence, broke down the left wing and fired it far side for a 1-0 lead with 2:40 left in the 1st period.
Whatever the coaches said after the first period sure stunk. Off the opening faceoff, 10 took the puck, wheeled around our defence and scored a breakaway goal 10 seconds into the period. It took just one more minute for him to score another and the Dogs were down 2-1.
A line change (really great coaching move there!) put Andrew W. on the ice, and 10 seconds later, the Bulldogs were back tied.
With 30 seconds left, 10 finished his hat trick, and we went to the 3rd period down a goal.
But there was no panic on the bench at that point. The kids were cool. They knew what they had to do.
Then came the big goal we needed. Andrew C. broke down the left wing, went around the net and tucked in a vicious wraparound, to tie the game. A huge goal, since a tie would take us to the finals.
So, with 8:31 on the clock, it was defend against the pressure. We bent – a couple of times – but Michael was cool in the nets, a couple of goalmouth scrambles were pushed away from the crease, and the dog pound held the fort.
To make sure we earned it, Cade took a hooking penalty with 1 minute left in the game! Forest Hill pulled their goalie. Gulp!
Off the faceoff, Max sent the puck down the ice and it just missed the net. Forest Hill brought it back and got a good chance. That led to another faceoff, it was scrambled. William P. and Andrew W. fought hard for it, and Andrew sent the puck spinning down the ice and into the back of the Forest Hill net.
That was it. A 4-3 victory. A really great series against a very talented Forest Hill team. A tie and two one-goal victories. It could be any closer.
But that’s it. We’re on to the finals. Buckle up!