The Alberni Valley Bulldogs had to come up with something special to win Game 4 against the Victoria Grizzlies in their B.C. Hockey League Coastal Conference semi-final playoff series.
Bulldogs defenseman Marlon Sabo scored at 13:36 of the overtime period to give Port Alberni a 4-3 win over the Grizzlies, setting up a fifth and final game in Victoria on Wednesday night.
“It took something special for us to win it in overtime,” head coach Kevin Willison said. “Sabo stepped into a one-timer off the faceoff and put it through the bodies between him and the net.”
The night was special for the Bulldogs, but it was even more special for Mak Barden, who was just called up from the Junior B Delta Ice Hawks of the Pacific International Junior Hockey League (PIJHL), where he scored 26 goals and 46 assists.
Barden scored two goals on the night including one that tied the game and sent it into overtime with 2:38 left in the third period.
“He stepped in and did everything we asked him to do,” Willison said.
Bulldogs goalie Jay Deo was again stellar in net, turning aside 41 shots in the game, 14 of them in the third period. “Jay did what he’s been doing all year: making saves and keeping us in the game,” Willison said.
The Bulldogs did a good job of keeping the Fitzgerald triplets in check: they only factored into two Victoria goals.
The Bulldogs came back from the brink, something that didn’t surprise assistant coach Adam Hayduk. “People counted us out against Nanaimo and we came back,” Hayduk said. “The guys are just relentless and now we’ve set up Game 5 on the road.”
Games in Victoria have been tough on the Bulldogs, who have lost two there in the series. “I’d like to see us handle the puck better, create more chances there and give Jay a couple of goal cushion,” Willison said.
The Bulldogs have momentum on their side, and a desire to play a lot more hockey, Willison said.
“Hey, the guys are having fun out there and they don’t want to stop having fun,” he said. “They want to keep this going. They don’t want to go home yet.”