The Alberni Valley Bulldogs split a pair of preseason games against the Cowichan Valley Capitals, with one win and one loss.
On Tuesday, Aug. 28, the Bulldogs were dominant in a game at the Island Savings Centre in Duncan, finishing with a 5-3 score and a 43-27 lead in shots. Bulldogs forward Paul Selleck picked up two goals in the game and goaltender Blake Wood earned the win.
In Wednesday’s game at Weyerhaeuser Arena, the Bulldogs struggled to get past Capitals goaltender Jack Grant. Selleck, with his third goal in two games, managed to break the shutout 13:04 into the third period with an assist from Ethan Jones, but the Capitals took a 6-1 win.
Bulldogs head coach Matt Hughes said the rosters in both games were “vastly different.”
“We’re playing four [exhibition] games in five nights,” he explained. “We’re trying to avoid anybody playing four in a row, or three in a row.”
The roster was down to 27 players as of Thursday afternoon. Management still has a few decisions to make, as the roster must be cut down to 23 by opening night on September 7.
“It’s going to be extremely tough,” said Hughes. “I’ve been really impressed with the quality of players here.”
Along with a “good core of guys” returning from the 2017-18 season, Hughes said the team has benefitted from a full year of recruiting.
“It’s made a difference in the quality of player we could bring in and the number of quality players,” he said. “It’s made the group faster, bigger and stronger.”
The Bulldogs are preparing for their final two exhibition games against the Nanaimo Clippers. The first will take place on Friday, Aug. 31 in Nanaimo, and the second will take place at Oceanside Place in Parksville. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. both nights.
The Bulldogs will hold their home opener against the Victoria Grizzlies on Friday, Sept. 14.