Coming off a devastating 3-2 OT loss on Friday the Kings and the Bulldogs would go at it once more on Saturday night on Tla’amin Nation night at the Hap to wrap up a 5 game homestand.
After a wonderful pregame ceremony both team continues right where they left off going back and forth. Midway through the first the Kings would end in penalty trouble again and we’re down two men for an extended period of time. After failing to score on a lengthy 5 on 3 the night before they would make up for that as Brandon Buhr beat Smith to open the scoring. Now on a 5 on 4 power play the Bulldogs would quickly add another just 18 later and Ethan Bono potted in the second goal of the game for the Dogs, and they would take that lead to the next period.
In the second the Kings would get off to a flying start putting a ton of pressure on Bulldogs netminder Hayden Dunford and their defence but where unable to get one by him. The Kings would go back to a long penalty kill in the period as Parker LaLonde served a 4 minute penalty for high sticking. The Bulldogs would have plenty of opportunities, but the PK stood tall for the Kings and killed off all 4 minutes. After a great kill the Kings we’re finally rewarded for their hard work as Mark D’Agostino would carry the puck into the O-zone and feed Hunter Andrew in the slot who shot it off the heel of his stick. Dunford would have to make the save and to the benefit of the Kings he kicked the rebound to Ethan Riesterer to scored his second in as many games to get the Kings back within one. 3 minutes later Alberni would answer on a odd man rush as Josh Zary would tap in the pass from Stephen Castagna to restore the 2 goal lead which they would take again into the final period.
The Kings would push hard in the third to make the comeback and they would get a step closer on the powerplay at 8:36 as Dylan Finlay fired a slapper by Dunford to reduce the lead back to one. The goal would be Finlay’s 4th of the campaign. The Kings were back within striking distance, but the Bulldogs would have another answer as Kings would giveaway the puck in front of their own net and tot the benefit of Brandon Buhr it came to him right in the slot and scored his second of the night and restore the 2 goal margin. The Kings did not give up and kept on fighting to erase the 2 goal deficit. With 1:20 left and the extra attacker out Casey Aman would wire a wrister from the point and it beat a screened Dunford to the Kings back within one for the third time on the night, however the comeback was not meant to be as Braden Blace would add an empty netter for the Bulldogs to secure the 5-3 win.
Hunter Andrew, Mark D’Agostino, and Karter McNarland would each notch 2 assists on the night while Matthias Smith made 34 saves in his second consecutive start.
The Kings have finished the homestand at 0-3-2 and now sit at 10-18-4 on the season and still remain 7th in the coastal conference, however they are just 3 points ahead of the Coquitlam Express and 4 ahead of the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
Up next for the Kings is a 3 in 3 on the island that includes 2 games in Victoria against the Grizzlies but will start Friday in Nanaimo against the Clippers at 7pm.