By Josh Howald
After a bit of a scare against the league’s weakest team, the Carruthers Nicol Insurance Kincardine Bulldogs knocked off the four-time defending league champions on Sunday.
“It’s a big win,” said head coach Jeff Alcombrack about Sunday afternoon’s shootout victory of the Walkerton Hawks.
“It’s huge for us. It proves if you come prepared and battle hard, we can play with anyone.”
Anyone, including the Hawks, who had entered Sunday undefeated after opening the Western Junior C regular season with five straight wins, including a 4-2 win over Mount Forest the previous night.
Kincardine was coming off a narrow 8-6 win in Goderich Friday night.
“We had too many passengers,” said Alcombrack, “it was ugly, but we got the win (Friday).”
Cody Britton was not one of the passengers. He scored six times against the Sailors, and his final three goals came in the form of a third period natural hat trick that turned a 6-5 deficit into a 8-6 win. His linemates Brett Catto and Jared Colling each had five assists, while Dave Mercer and Jamie Miller each had single goals. Cody McIntyre and Jesse McIntyre each scored twice for Goderich, while Nick Gowing and Brandon Colling each scored once. The Sailors outshot Kincardine 38-34 in this game, which was 5-5 at the second intermission.
He is the first and only Bulldog to ever score six times in one game.
Jaden Shrier made 26 saves for Goderich, while Justin Hammond got the win for the ‘Dogs with 32 stops.
With Gatlin Burt serving his second game of a two-game suspension, Hammond got the call again Sunday afternoon in Walkerton.
“(Hammond) stepped up and gave us a chance to win,” said Alcombrack. “He just played square to the play, kept the puck in front of him and didn’t allow many second chances. He played great.”
Justin Hammond picked up two wins in goal last weekend. (Richard Lawson photos)
Alcombrack held a special teams practice Saturday, which apparently didn’t hurt either.
Garrett Simmons scored a power play goal in the first period from Catto and Britton, and Catto made it 2-0 with an unassisted power play tally in the second. Drew Davidson made it 2-1 midway through the third period, and Wade Pfeffer forced overtime when he scored with 35 seconds remaining in regulation and Walkerton goaltender Keegan Woodman on the bench for an extra attacker.
Overtime solved nothing, and Catto scored faked a shot before going high glove side. Britton then scored ona pretty nifty deke, while Hammond stopped Davidson and Adam Alexander.
Kincardine native Woodman, who holds the best numbers in the Western League, made 24 saves in defeat, while Hammond made 33 saves, plus the two breakaways in the shootout. Burt’s suspension has now ended, but will the ‘Dogs go with Hammond again Friday night, when the teams play a rematch at the Davidson Centre?
“Good question,” laughed Alcombrack. “The coaching staff will talk about it at practice (Tuesday night) and make a decision. We have a huge weekend coming up, and the boys have to stick together to keep this train rolling.”
As mentioned, the Hawks will be in Kincardine Friday night for a rematch, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Saturday night, Kincardine will travel to Mount Forest to take on the Patriots, also at 8:30 p.m.
The Patriots lost in a shootout to Mitchell Friday night before the 4-2 defeat to Walkerton Saturday. Hanover beat Wingham 6-5 and Goderich 7-3 in other Western Junior C action on the weekend.