After a 5-4 win against the Powell River Kings on Saturday, Feb. 24, the Alberni Valley Bulldogs were set to face the Kings a second time for their final home game of the season on Sunday.
The Bulldogs pulled away with the win, 4-2.
Alberni Valley opened the scoring in the first period, with affiliate player Stephen Castagna netting his first goal as a Bulldog. But Powell River answered right back with a goal from Nick Abbott.
In the second period, Powell River took the lead with a power play goal from Carter Turnbull.
But the Bulldogs responded in the third. Paul Selleck scored halfway through the period to tie things up, and Tyler Vanuden added another to take the lead. Keaton Mastrodonato added an insurance goal after a breakaway and a top-shelf shot against Powell River goaltender Matteo Paler-Chow.
The Bulldogs finished their regular season with back-to-back wins at home against the Powell River Kings.
“It was important for our guys to find a little success and gain some momentum going into the playoffs,” said head coach Matt Hughes after the game.
Goaltender Brock Lefebvre stopped 38 of the 40 shots he faced. Castagna also had a strong game, earning his first goal and adding two more assists. He was named the third star of the game, while Lefebvre was named first.
The Bulldogs finish the season with a 17-32-5-4 record and 43 points. It was confirmed on Sunday that the Bulldogs will be facing the Island Division-leading Victoria Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs. The Bulldogs have only won one game against the Grizzlies, an overtime win at the Q Centre back in October.
“We’re going to get our guys prepared the best we can,” said Hughes.
Earlier last week, Hughes was selected as the Island Division nominee for the Joe Tennant Memorial Trophy as BCHL Coach of the Year. Hughes was the only member of the Bulldogs to be nominated for the BCHL’s annual awards.
“I was surprised,” Hughes admitted.
He said that he is thankful for the recognition from the other coaches. “It’s nice when you get the respect from your peer group,” he said.
He also credited assistant coaches Jeff Dubois and Rick Schievink, as well as the Bulldogs’ goalie coach, for their hard work.