The Alberni Valley Bulldogs dropped a close game at home on Sunday, falling 3-1 to the visiting Surrey Eagles.
The first two periods of the Jan. 27 matinee game were scoreless, with both Bulldogs goaltender John Hawthorne and Eagles goaltender Hayden Missler putting on a clinic. The Bulldogs finally broke the shutout five minutes into the third period, with a goal from Ryan Miotto, assisted by Jackson Doucet and Keaton Mastrodonato. However, the Surrey Eagles responded with back-to-back goals in less than a minute, taking a 2-1 lead at 10:40 in the third period.
The Bulldogs struggled to tie things up in the dying minutes of the period, but a number of penalties left them one man short for most of it. Eagles goaltender Missler left the game at 11:54 in the third period, following a collision with Mastrodonato, and was replaced by Cayden Bailey, who saved all five shots he faced in the game. Surrey forward Liam Ryan added an empty net goal for insurance with only two seconds left in the game, giving Surrey the 3-1 win.
This is the Bulldogs’ second loss this weekend, as they found themselves in an early four-goal deficit against the Penticton Vees on Saturday. The Alberni Valley team launched a comeback over the second and third period, but fell just short and dropped the 4-3 decision on home ice.
Earlier last week, Bulldogs goaltender John Hawthorne earned his third shutout of the season in a 4-0 win against the Cowichan Valley Capitals in Duncan. The Alberni Valley netminder kept his team in the game early on, as the Capitals had a 19-5 advantage in shots on goal during the first period. But it was the Bulldogs who opened scoring when defender Marcus Walter wired a shot past Capitals goaltender Pierce Diamond.
Michael Hodge, Mastrodonato and Grayson Valente added three more goals for insurance as the Bulldogs took the 4-0 win. Hawthorne stood tall with 43 saves.
Next up, the Bulldogs will face the Victoria Grizzlies at the Q Centre on Thursday, Jan. 31. They will be back at home on Friday, Feb. 1 to take on the visiting Powell River Kings.