The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are in an enviable position going into their home opener this Friday, Sept. 14 against the Cowichan Capitals at Weyerhaeuser Arena.
The Bulldogs have three experienced goaltenders on their roster with the pending arrival of Adam Todd, who was released from the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League last week.
Jay Deo, 20, joined the team from the Calgary Mustangs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and Brad Rebagliati, 17, came to the Bulldogs via Cranbrook. Deo and Rebagliati split the Bulldogs’ first two losses of the season at the B.C. Hockey League showcase in Chilliwack last weekend. Todd played two games with the Bulldogs last year, winning both.
“We’ve been receiving calls about our goalie situation over the last few days,” assistant coach Adam Hayduk said. “It’s a great situation to be in, being deep with three experienced goalies.
“As an organization we’ll see how things will play out over the next week or so.”
Teams in the BCHL are limited to 22 players on their rosters, with a minimum of two goaltenders.
It’s anyone’s guess who will show up between the pipes for the Bulldogs’ home opener on Friday. Hayduk said Todd, who hails from Courtenay, was on his way back to Vancouver Island this week.
Hayduk said the team is feeling pretty positive heading into the weekend, despite dropping two games at the BCHL Showcase, 7–3 to Langley and 5–4 to Victoria in overtime. “There’s definitely a lot of positives,” he said. “Our returning players stepped up.”
Lars Hepso scored four goals in two games, creating some buzz around the college scouts at the showcase.
Rookie forward Nathan Craft scored two goals and picked up two assists as well.
With 10 rookies on the roster right now, the ‘Dogs are “a few players away from creating that depth for our team,” Hayduk said.
The defense will have to concentrate on getting the puck out of their own zone quicker, and the entire team needs to concentrate on making simpler plays, he said.
“We learned from example not to pinch at the wrong time,” he said.
The annual kickoff tailgate party starts at 4 p.m. on Friday and puck drop is 7 p.m. The Bulldogs are back at Weyerhaeuser on Sunday afternoon for a 2 p.m. matinee with the Powell River Kings.
ICE CHIPS…Zach Funk scored the first goal of the B.C. Hockey League season at the BCHL Showcase.