In the Slot...

Happy returns

In the Slot... appears each week in the print edition of The Kincardine Independent. This week, changes made to In the Slot... were not reflected in our print edition. Here is this week's column, as it was to appear. Please also note, the playoff dates and times for the Bulldogs and Kincardine midgets were incorrect in the print edition - but have been corrected in the stories posted on this site.

*When asked which local players to keep an eye on in the STCA Showcase last week, OHL Central Scouting’s Darrell Woodley included Kincardine skater Ben Scheel on a list of a dozen players. He told Bayshore Broadcasting’s Fred Wallace that Scheel is “probably (Grey-Bruce’s) best forward. He creates a lot of offence and is good at several different aspects of the game. He mucks it up in the corners and drives the net well.”

So Scheel is getting a gander.

All of his Grey-Bruce minor midget teammates will be as well, and I would think Keegan McLelland in particular. McLelland has added some grit to his game, and also has some impressive skills in the offensive end. In the only game I watched the Highlanders play this season in Chesley, Chase Ambeau played a strong game on right defence. Riley Cook is also on that minor-midget team, and is back in action after missing the first half of the season with injuries.

Ryker Killins, who plays for the Huron-Perth AAA Lakers, is also on the radar, and has been assessed by Ontario Hockey League scouts this season.

All five young men have appeared in KDSS green this season with the boys hockey team. The Knights, who finished first overall in the BAA North Division with a 5-2-1 record, will host Walkerton District for a quarter-final game late next week. Watch our website for details.

*Former Knight Garrett Meurs had the shootout winner Saturday night in the Soo to give his Plymouth Whalers a 4-3 win in OHL action. Matt Mahalak stopped all six Greyhounds in the shootout before Meurs ended the night. The Whalers, who were ranked #7 in the CHL last week, are in Sarnia Friday and host Windsor Saturday.

*Just learned that Garrett Meurs and Riley Cook are second cousins. Thanks to Tracy for the tip.

*Elmira Sugarkings forward Brett Catto returned to Listowel Friday night for the first time since he was dealt two weeks earlier. The former Cyclones captain requested a trade from the struggling Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League franchise this season, and Friday night scored on his first shift of the game against his former team. His goal was the first in a 9-4 Elmira win. He left with a lower body injury in the middle frame, but recovered well enough to post a four-assist performance on Sunday against the Stratford Culltions. The SugarKings physically dominated the Cullitons in a big weekend tilt as the teams battle for second overall in the Midwestern Conference. Elmira has just one game this weekend, Sunday at home to Guelph.

*The Kincardine atoms will face Mitchell (like pretty well every other KMHA team) in the opening round of the playoffs, and will host Game 1 of the series tomorrow (Thursday) night at 7 p.m. Game 2 is Friday in Mitchell, with Game 3 in Kincardine at 5 p.m. Saturday. Games 4 and 5 are set for Feb. 10 and 11.

*I actually had a couple of spare moments this week, and decided to look into the 1989-90 midget International Silver Stick championship. One month ago, I reported this year’s midget squad was the first Kincardine midget team to win that title, and I heard about it from plenty of you. With current Bulldogs GM and KDSS coach Doug Kennedy behind the bench, Kincardine beat Espanola 2-1, hammered Minnesota 10-0 and Petrolia 7-2. The line of Steve Beisel, Dan McCormick and Sean McKegney combined for 12 points in that 7-2 win before Kincardine edged out Thamesford 5-4 in a semi-final contest. Kincardine then walked all over Durham, Ontario in an 8-2 championship game. McCormick and McKegney each had 10 point tourneys, while Beisel had a dozen through five games. Goaltender Jason Criag, Kyle MacMillan and McCormick were all named to the tournament all-star team.

*That same week, Margot Verlaan was named to the Canadian roster for the 1990 women’s hockey world championships tourney. That 1990 event in Ottawa was the first ever women’s World Championship. Verlaan, a former Tiverton Big Red, is currently the coach of the defending OFSAA champs from Appleby College.

*In a game out of reach on the final night of a disastrous season, hockey can still be fun. Walkerton Caiptals goaltender Jason Hamilton – who has played every second of the last 23 straight games for the last place Caps – decided to change on the fly with back-up Tyler Tilker. The netminders high-fived at the blue line, and Tilker raced to the crease to immediately face an Elora rush. He made a spectacular stop, and the rebound was kicked out and moved up ice to Kincardine’s Tim Dwinnell. Dwinnell scored to make the score 13-3 in the final WOAA Senior AA tilt of the year for the Caps.

Tilker – who rarely missed a practice but hadn’t seen a second of playing time – ends the season with some impressive numbers. He has a perfect save percentage – plus an assist – in less than eight seconds of game action.