181:03, that’s how long it took the ‘Dogs to get their first lead in a game in this Western Conference Finals. Ryan Russell scored the game’s first goal while shorthanded in the opening minute, the goal that could potentially change the series around. The big guns for the Bulldogs all displayed determination and leadership by putting goals on the board. Dustin Boyd was a huge factor in this game with 2 goals, 2 assists, 8 shots on goal and an amazing +5 rating. His line mates Aaron Palushaj picked up a goal and 2 assists while Nigel Dawes had two goals of his own. Drew MacIntyre had to make just 14 saves for the win. The ‘Dogs outshot the Aeros in every period for a total of 40 shots on goal.
Down 3-0 in this series, the Bulldogs were in some serious trouble. Their backs were against the wall and the only way out was to get by the solid defense corps of the Houston Aeros. On this night, the Aeros had no idea what was about to hit them. A hungry pack of ‘Dogs, were desperately looking for something to feed off from. That break finally happened after Ryan Russell scored his 6th of the playoffs at the 1:03 mark of the first period while killing off a penalty. It was a huge burden off their shoulder to finally get their first lead.
Unfortunately that lead was held short as the Aeros replied back at 2:25. The ‘Dogs kept their composure and continued pressing hard on Houston. Aaron Palushaj and Gabriel Dumont each scored a goal before the end of the period with their 5th and 6th respectively. Aaron Palushaj made a highlight reel goal by skating past two defenders and beating the goaltender on the top corner. The goal was good enough to be shown on the TSN’s HON candidate.
In the final 40 minutes of the game, the ‘Dogs had almost as many goals as the amount of shots that were fired on Drew MacIntyre by Houston. The ‘Dogs scored five more goals while the Aeros had just 9 shots on goal. J.T. Wyman scored his 3rd of the playoffs, while Dustin Boyd and Nigel Dawes each rotated goals in the second and third frame. Nigel Dawes scored his 11th and 12th of the post-season.
Dustin Boyd, who scored the big goal in game 7 had his best outing of the playoffs thus far. Boyd was all over the ice, crashing the net, putting pucks on goal and into the net. “We had a lot more energy, a lot more jump out there. It definitely showed in our game. When we have a lackluster game it’s kind of tough for us to get the chances and teams beat us,” Dustin Boyd said.
The ‘Dogs will get a chance to get closer to the Aeros as the teams will meet on Friday night for game 5. Another do-or-die game.