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Bulldogs fall to Merchants in overtime

Burford BulldogsBulldogs fall to Merchants in overtime

The Burford Bulldogs remain on the hunt for their first win of the season after a 5-4 overtime loss against the Norwich Merchants on Saturday, November 6.

The Bulldogs were slow to start the game and the Merchants took advantage early with a breakaway goal less than a minute into the game. 

Both teams battled hard following the goal and the Bulldogs got a chance to tie it up with a man-advantage after a tripping call. The power play units were slow to start and struggled to piece anything together as the Merchants killed off the penalty with ease.

The Bulldogs started to get their footing after the power play and fired a number of shots on net but Merchants goaltender Carver Monroe held his ground. 

Merchants goaltender Carver Monroe made 35 stops in his outing against the Bulldogs.

The Merchants fed off of their goalie’s opening performance to work their way back to the net to extend their lead to 2-0, halfway through the first period. Burford came out flying after the goal but the Merchants threw big hits at both ends of the ice to slow them down. 

Fighting to keep the Bulldogs under control, the Merchants took a hooking penalty. Halfway through the power play, Burford’s goalie Shendon Smith made a big save on a shorthanded breakaway and played the puck to his teammates who headed back down the ice to net one and cut Norwich’s lead in half. 

The Bulldogs thought they tied it up in the last 20 seconds of the period but the goal was waved off due to the net being off, and Monroe took a delay of game penalty. The Merchants held their 2-1 lead to end the first.

Burford started the second with 1:20 left on the power play. In the final second, a shot from the point went top shelf to tie the game at two. Twenty seconds later, the Merchants regained their lead with Jack Gee’s second goal of the game. 

Bulldogs player Derrick Da Silva celebrates his first period goal against the Merchants on Saturday, November 6.

Play was balanced for the next several minutes. The Merchants got a power play, but halfway through they took a penalty of their own and the teams battled at 4-on-4.

Minutes after the penalties expired, the Bulldogs fired a shot into the top corner to tie the game up again. 

After a hit from behind left a Merchants player down on the ice, Bulldogs forward Derick Da Silva was removed from the game and a teammate served his two minute minor. The Merchants spent the entire power play in the offensive zone but could not get one past Smith. The second period ended and the game was tied at three.

Merchants forward Hayden MacLean fires a shot on net in second period action.

The Merchants took an early penalty to start the third period but they dominated during the penalty kill. After keeping his team in the game during a weak power play, Smith left the game with an injury and Caleb Ursu replaced him in between the pipes for the Bulldogs. 

Halfway through the third, Bulldogs forward Frankie Varga went down into the boards awkwardly and laid on the ice for several minutes. The trainer assessed the injury before his teammates helped him off the ice. Following the injury, the Bulldogs played their best hockey of the night. 

The Merchants matched their energy level and the teams battled it out for several minutes. 

The Bulldogs took their first lead of the night with 48 seconds left in the third following a giveaway pass at the blue line. 

Caleb Ursu relieved Bulldogs goalie Shendon Smith after he was injured in the third period.

Not out of the game yet, the Merchants took a timeout to make a plan for the final seconds of the game. The timeout worked, as Gee topped off his hat trick to tie the game at four with eight seconds left in the third period. The buzzer sounded and the game was headed to overtime.

The Merchants came out flying in overtime, and the Bulldogs spent the opening minutes in their own zone. Ursu stood tall in his crease to give his team time to get going. 

Five minutes into overtime, Joel Storoschuk fired a one timer past Ursu to win it for the Merchants. Visibly frustrated, Ursu smashed his stick over the crossbar while the opposing team celebrated their victory beside him. 

The Bulldogs record now drops to 0-10-1-1 in their first 12 games.

Bulldogs goaltender Caleb Ursu bashed his stick over the crossbar after letting in the game winning goal in overtime.

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