New Bulldogs forward Oak MacLeod fires a shot on the Grizzlies’ goal during the first period of a preseason game at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Tuesday, Oct. 27. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

New Bulldogs forward Oak MacLeod fires a shot on the Grizzlies’ goal during the first period of a preseason game at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Tuesday, Oct. 27. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

BCHL: New guys get game winner for Alberni Valley Bulldogs

Alberni records a 5-4 overtime win against the Victoria Grizzlies

The two newest additions to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs roster are making an impact.

New Bulldogs forwards Oak MacLeod and Ryan Tverberg combined for the game-winning goal on Tuesday, Oct. 27, leading the team to a 5-4 overtime win against the visiting Victoria Grizzlies.

Alberni led 2-1 after 20 minutes and 3-2 after two periods, but the Grizzlies rallied early in the third to take a 4-3 lead. The Bulldogs found a third period rally themselves, with forward Stephen Castagna scoring late in the period to send the team to overtime. The newly-acquired duo of Tverberg and McLeod teamed up on a breakaway in the overtime winner, with MacLeod getting the goal. Bulldogs goaltender Jackson Glassford made 40 saves in his second straight win.

Almost a month into exhibition action, the Bulldogs have improved their pre-season record to 4-4-0-1 and sit in third place in the Island Cup tournament, behind the Grizzlies and Clippers.

“The last week we’ve been really good,” said Bulldogs head coach Joe Martin after the game. “I’m happy with it. But there’s definitely some more work ahead of us.”

READ MORE: Alberni Valley Bulldogs back on the ice for extended training camp

After winning their first two preseason games against the Cowichan Valley Capitals, the Bulldogs found themselves on a five-game losing skid. The team has now won two in a row. The B.C. Hockey League is scheduled to start its 2020 regular season in December.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” said Martin. “We have a lot of players that are close to getting to their potential, and I think there’s more success still to come. I would say everyone on our roster is trending in the right direction.”

The team has already made some roster moves, acquiring MacLeod on Oct. 24 and Tverberg on Oct. 26. Both players were acquired from the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL), which has not yet received approval to take the ice during COVID-19.

“They’re both playing college hockey next year, so they need to play—they need to improve,” said Martin.

MacLeod is committed to St. Lawrence University, while Tverberg is committed to Harvard. Tverberg was also a 2020 seventh round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Although they played on different teams in the OJHL, MacLeod and Tverberg were friends and teammates in their minor hockey days. They are currently billeting together in the Alberni Valley.

“There was already chemistry with them,” said Martin. “It was a good fit. They’re players that are offensive, but it’s not just offence—they’re good players in every aspect of the game.”

The acquisition of Tverberg and MacLeod was timely, as a few players are out with injuries. Forward Josh Zary is unlikely to see any action until the regular season, said Martin, but others are week-to-week.

Next up, the Bulldogs travel to Nanaimo to face the Clippers on Friday, Oct. 30. Fans can watch the action live on Hockey TV.

“We’re trying to get better, piece by piece,” said Martin. “Right now we’re focusing on playing away from the puck and improving defensively. We’ll just continue to make strides, and I know the offense will come.”

HOW THE TRADES WENT DOWN…The Bulldogs acquired the rights MacLeod by in a three-team deal with the Estevan Bruins of the SJHL and the OJHL’s Collingwood Blues. They acquired the rights to Tanner Mortensen from Estevan for the rights to Isaac Tonkin-Palmer. The Bulldogs then sent Mortensen and future considerations to the Blues in exchange for MacLeod.

The Bulldogs acquired Tverberg from the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in exchange for the CJHL playing rights to Keaton Mastrodonato and future considerations.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.comLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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