Welcome to the West

Bulldogs take home opener 8-2

Tim Eickmeyer of the Mitchell Hawks tries to stop Devin Kemp of the Bulldogs from getting to Matt Stirling’s crease during second period action in Kincardine’s Friday night game. Kemp had an assist in a 8-2 Kincardine victory. (Josh Howald photo)

The Kincardine Bulldogs showed the Mitchell Hawks just how things are done in the Western Junior C loop Friday night.

Kincardine opened the 2008-09 regular season schedule by putting a 8-2 beating on the expansion Hawks Friday night at the Davidson Centre in a penalty-filled affair.

“Playing Kincardine and Walkerton in the opening weekend isn’t an ideal way for us to start,” said Hawks coach Kory Dietz. “But on the other hand, the only way to gauge yourself is to play the best teams.”

Kincardine’s top line of Blake Underwood, Tim Dwinnell and Joel Alton continued to terrorize opposing goaltenders, combining for a 10-point game. Underwood had a four-point night, while his linemates each added three.

Drew Pegrum picked up the win for Kincardine, stopping 28 shots. The shot count was even at 30-30.

“It’s a win,” said Kincardine coach Brian Royle following the game. “Our goaltending was good, the big line was rolling again. But I’m really not sure where our discipline was – we can be better.”

Alton scored twice in the opening frame, the first assisted by Dave Chessell, who made his return to the Kincardine blueline.

Underwood set up the second marker, which was a powerplay goal. Kincardine had three powerplay goals in the game. Bill Caesar and Dwinnell had the others, both in the second period.

Steve Crone and Brett Parsons also had second period goals as Kincardine held a 6-0 lead after two periods.

Underwood had a pair of helpers, while Dwinnell, Alton, Tyler Lukasik and Ben Larsen each added one.

“Early on I thought we were pretty tentative, prone to mistakes,” said Mitchell coach Kory Dietz of his team’s first game in the Junior C loop. “I thought we were good in the third. We decided to play our system, and the players saw it pay off when it was executed.”

Hawks captain Dan Raycraft scored Mitchell’s first goal with one minute gone in the third period, making it 6-1.

Shortly after, the Hawks were handed a 5-on-3 powerplay.

Underwood put the game away with the prettiest goal of the night while two men short. After stealing the puck at centre, he raced past two Mitchell defencemen and fired a snap shot off the crossbar into the top corner

Boyd Brown scored a second Hawks goal, while Mike Bujold replied before the game’s end.

The teams combined for 160 minutes in penalties. Kincardine’s Alex MacLeod, Josh Catto, Mike Rutherford and Ryan Armstrong were all ejected with fighting majors.

“They tried to hit us, run us all over the ice,” said Royle. “That was their tactic. I thought we took some very dumb penalties, but they did put some good pressure on at times. They have some skill, they will do all right (in the league).”

Deitz said his team was “going to pick up right where we left off” the following night, and his team proved him right as they scored a 3-1 upset win over the Walkerton Hawks Saturday night in Mitchell.

In other weekend action, Wingham beat Hanover 5-1 and Mount Forest squandered a 4-0 lead to lose 5-4 to Goderich in overtime.

Kincardine plays again Friday night in Goderich and will return to the Davidson Centre Saturday night for a home game against the Mount Forest Patriots.