By Josh Howald
Let’s keep ‘em both.
That’s what the Carruthers Nicol Insurance Kincardine Bulldogs decided to do with starting goaltenders Gatlin Burt and Maxime Veilleux. To trim down, the Bulldogs decided to send back-up Justin Hammond to the Wingham Ironmen.
Tanner Simpson runs Cody Oehm out of room during Kincardine’s 9-1 pasting of the Hanover Barons Friday night in Western Junior C hockey action. Kincardine will travel to Wingham Friday night. (Richard Lawson photo)
If the move works, it could be a stroke of genius, as Kincardine now packs the best one-two goaltending punch in the Western Junior C Hockey League. It worked well on the weekend, as Kincardine won twice more to extend a winning streak to four games and move to within one point of first overall (7-4).
The Bulldogs absolutely hammered the Hanover Barons Friday night on the road, and weren’t so kind in welcoming Hammond back to the Davidson Centre on Saturday.
The Ironmen gave Hammond the start Saturday night, and the Bulldogs quickly chased him from the net, scoring five goals in the opening period. Cody Britton had two goals. Tanner Simpson, Chad Simpson and Jared Colling also scored single markers as the Bulldogs stormed out to a 5-0 lead. Catto assisted on two of those goals, while Dave Mercer, Joel Alton, Shawn Stewart, Paul Lamont and Greg Scott, back from the Junior B Listowel Cyclones, also had assists.
Hammond made 7 saves on 12 shots before being replaced by Ben Errington. Veilleux made 40 saves in the Kincardine net, and the ‘Dogs needed no more offence. Aaron Armstrong scored twice for the Ironmen, and Justin Jacklin scored in the third period to make it a 5-3 final.
“(Vielleux) is playing good,” said Alcombrack. “He stays calm and stops the puck. But the whole team is buying into the systems and sticking together. When we keep our feet moving and finish our checks, we create chances and can be dangerous.”
Like Friday night. Kincardine’s offence was lethal in Hanover as the ‘Dogs cruised to a 9-1 win over the Barons. Catto had a four-point night, scoring twice and adding two helpers, while Britton had a goal and two assists. Mercer and Alton each had a goal and an assist, while Gerrit Satosek had two helpers. Single goals went to Garrett Simmons, Josh MacDonald and Lamont. Kincardine led this one 3-1 after the first period and 4-1 headed for the third.
Burt made 21 saves for his second straight win.
Elsewhere on the weekend, Wingham needed overtime to get past Mitchell 4-3, while Walkerton doubled up the Patriots 6-3 and beat Goderich 4-1. Mount Forest defeated the Barons in a shootout, while Wingham downed the Sailors 7-3 Sunday afternoon.
It leaves Kincardine tied for second overall with Wingham and Mitchell, all with 14 points. Walkerton is one point up, while both Mount Forest and Hanover are just three points behind. It’s the closest the Western Junior C standings have been in years.
“It’s very tight right now, and that just means we can never take a night off,” said Alcombrack. “Every point is important, and Friday’s game is like a four-point game. Wingham is a very good team, so we’ll have to play another solid road game.”
Kincardine will visit the Ironmen for a 7:30 p.m. start Friday night. It is Kincardine’s only game of the weekend. The Bulldogs don’t play at home again until Nov. 3, when the Walkerton Hawks will be in town for a 7 p.m. start.