The Alberni Valley Bulldogs have taken a 1-0 lead in their BC Hockey League Coastal Conference quarter-final against Cowichan Capitals. And they won that first game on home turf.
The Bulldogs looked shaky in the first period as Cowichan took a 2–0 lead with a pair of goals from Massimo Sarantos Lombardi (including one on the power play midway through the period). Bulldogs’ Chase Klassen cut the deficit to 2-1 when he capitalized on a play by Braden Blace and Nicholas Beneteau at 16:18 of the first.
Josh Zary tied the game on the power play at 3:51 of the second period, and Brandon Buhr—also on the power play—scored the go-ahead goal with 2:08 left in the period.
The Caps brought the score to 3–3 at 4:22 of the third period but it was Stephen Castagna with a solo effort at 11:08 that gave the Bulldogs the winner. Ethan Bono scored the insurance at 17:36, giving the ‘Dogs a 5-3 victory.
Buhr ended the night with one goal and two assists, Zary had a goal and an assist, and Beneteau and Blace had two assists. Hobie Hedquist got the win in goal for the Bulldogs.
Head coach Joe Martin said in a post-game interview with Bulldogs’ play-by-play announcer Evan Hammond that he expected his team might come out flat early in the game. The Bulldogs have had a bit of a layoff since their last home game. Going into the third period with a 3–2 lead, the Bulldogs “started to lean and they had some good shifts back to back,” Martin said.
While the Bulldogs have taken a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven quarter-final, Martin cautioned that the team can’t get ahead of itself. “The series is tied 0–0 tomorrow night,” he said.
“It’s one thing at a time.”
The Bulldogs and Capitals are back at the AV Multiplex tomorrow (April 2) for Game 2. Festivities kick off with a tailgate party at 5 p.m., hosted by Five Acre Co., The Zattzoo Project-Association and Bulldogs.
ICE CHIPS…Bulldogs’ head coach Joe Martin has been nominated for BCHL Coach of the Year…Goaltender Hobie Hedquist is up for the BCHL Top Goaltender award.