The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are hoping for a Christmas present from Powell River Kings, who they face tonight (Dec. 18) at 7 p.m. at Weyerhaeuser Arena at the AV Multiplex.
The Bulldogs are sitting mid-pack in the B.C. Hockey League’s Island Division, two points behind the Kings; they face the Kings twice at home (tonight and Dec. 27) and once in Powell River (Dec. 31, 5 p.m) in a three-game set to end 2014.
“It boils down to a mini-playoff series,” head coach Kevin Willison said.
“That’s the way we’re going to look at it.”
While the penalty killing and power play special teams are doing well, Willison says the team must concentrate on getting better at 5-on-5 play; something he hopes will materialize against the Kings.
“Now the timely goals are hard to come by. It’s not through lack of effort or lack of trying—we’re getting the opportunities,” he said.
The Bulldogs will be playing the Powell River series—and the rest of the season—without their second-highest scorer, Evan Tironese.
Tironese suffered a shoulder injury on Nov. 16, coincidentally against the Kings, when he got involved in a shoving match with another player and will require surgery.
“It was a freak thing,” Willison said. “He got involved with pushing and shoving and his shoulder popped out of its socket.”
ICE CHIPS…The Bulldogs picked up a new player, veteran forward Eric Therrien, from the Drayton Valley Thunder of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, in exchange for rookie defenceman Jeff Rose, who played 28 games for the ‘Dogs this year…Following Thursday’s game the Bulldogs and coaching staff will have a week off as players head home to be with their families for Christmas.