On a night the Blackfalds Bulldogs wanted to win one for their fans the team dropped their home opener 5-4 Friday against the Camrose Kodiaks at the Eagle Builders Centre.
After a fury of goals at the beginning of the third period by the Kodiaks it seemed the game was out of reach but the Bulldogs didn’t quit and brought their team within one goal.
Head coach Doug Quinn said he was happy with his teams sustained pressure but ultimately they had some breakdowns defensively.
“The difference is the other team made more of a commitment blocking shots, making plays and I thought that we were soft defensively,” he said. “Made a good push there at the end but you know it’s hard to come back when you’re three or four goals down.”
The Kodiaks struck first on the scoreboard in the opening frame when Kodiaks forward Callum Gau fired one into the back of the net on the powerplay. The Bulldogs had plenty of high quality scoring chances in the opening frame but were unable to capitalize.
In the second period the teams traded high quality scoring chances until the Kodiaks increased their lead 15 minutes into the period to two off the stick of Carson Whyte.
Less than a minute later, Bulldogs captain Brett Meerman hammered in a one-timer near the hashmarks on the powerplay off a slick pass from Tyler Wallace.
In the final frame the game began to unravel for the Bulldogs as one minute into the period the Kodiaks regained their two goal lead. However, just 10 seconds after that the Kodiaks made it 4-1 when Callam Gau got his second of the contest. A minute and a half after that the Kodiaks got another tally this time off the stick of Carson Whyte for his second of the game.
The Bulldogs didn’t give up in the game as midway through the period forward Brendan Ross got Blackfalds their second goal. Seven minutes later the Bulldogs scored another on the powerplay by Tyler Wallace to decrease the deficit to two goals. With the goalie pulled the Bulldogs brought the team within one when Brendan Ross fired one in.
Quinn said he thought his team controlled a lot of the play in the second period but said one minor breakdown is all it takes to be down three goals.
“Three goals in a minute and a half and you know we’re just going to have to learn and grow from it. I still got a pretty inexperienced group of players and even though I’m disappointed with the outcome I did see growth in a lot of individuals,” he said.
He added the Bulldogs played the last five minutes with the desperation they need to do it over 60 minutes.
“It’s easy for a team to have a few spurts here and there but the good teams are the ones who are consistent throughout the whole game.”
Bulldogs goalie Matthew Hennessey made 11 saves on 16 shots and Blackfalds heavily outshot their opponents with 27 total shots on goal.
The Bulldogs are now 1-2 on the year and will play the Brooks Bandits Saturday night at the Eagle Builders Centre at 6 p.m.