By Josh Howald
You could say the weekend had its ups and downs.
Mount Forest netminder Cole Wardwell looks beaten on this Kincardine shot. (Richard Lawson photo)
The Nicol Insurance Kincardine Bulldogs picked up win #1 of the season Friday night, an emotional 6-4 win in Mount Forest. However, Kincardine couldn’t build off that, and were humbled 7-2 Sunday afternoon by the Walkerton Hawks.
That leaves the Bulldogs tied for fourth place in the Western Junior C Hockey League with a record of 1-2-2. That isn’t exactly the start the team had envisioned.
“We have to find ways to win,” said captain Brett Catto, who has clearly become frustrated with some of his veteran teammates. “We show no intensity. There is too much just showing up at the rink.”
They weren’t too bad Friday in Mount Forest, but they might have been in trouble without him. He scored three times to pace the Bulldogs to a 6-4 win on the road. Rookie Keegan McLelland opened the scoring, as the teams traded unassisted goals in the opening period. Trevor Hughson replied for the Pats.
Catto scored back-to-back power play goals in the second, and this game began to get ugly. Linemates Cody Britton and Shawn Moore each assisted on all three of Catto’s goals. With the score 5-3 in the third, Luke Richardson scored a shorthanded goal for Mount Forest, but Jamie Miller sealed this game with an empty net goal with 46 seconds left. Tanner Simpson also scored for the ‘Dogs in this game.
Tyler MacGregor made 33 saves for Kincardine for the win, while Cole Wardlaw made 29 saves in a losing effort.
Sunday, Mitch Campbell was peppered with shots in the first period of Kincardine’s game in Walkerton. He was good between the pipes, and the ‘Dogs were lucky to escape only down a goal.
“We were not ready to play, again,” said Catto. “It’s frustrating not having guys show up prepared.”
Chris Gilman and Lauchlin Elder made it 3-0 before Catto sprung Britton for a shorthanded goal that made it 3-1 headed for the third.
“We were in striking distance, and we didn’t show any desire to win,” said Catto.
Elder made it 4-1, and Britton scored a second goal, again from Catto, to cut the lead to two goals. However, the Hawks scored three unanswered goals to finish off the Bulldogs 7-2. Elder scored to complete the hattrick, while David Gallo and Brooks Nelthorpe each scored once.
Trevor Fleming made 27 saves for the win, while Campbell stopped 30 Walkerton shots.
“We have young kids like Keegan (McLelland) and Churchy (Luke Czuczman) working hard, so if nothing changes, there might be some unhappy veterans here,” said Catto. “I have to take more of the blame than anyone, maybe it’s time to change pregame routine, or something…”
Catto was in on both goals Sunday, and had five points on the weekend. He has 10 points in five games, second only to Wingham’s Aaron Armstrong.
Wingham was defeated in a shootout by the Mitchell Hawks Friday night, meaning Mitchell is now the only undefeated team in the Western League. They will be in Kincardine Friday night to face the Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. They also hammered the Hanover Barons 10-3 on Sunday to move to 5-0 and take sole possession of first place. Elsewhere on Saturday, Walkerton defeated the Ironmen 4-3.
Friday night’s game is Kincardine’s only game of the weekend. Hanover visits Mount Forest Friday night, and Saturday night is a rare one with no games scheduled. Sunday, Wingham is in Walkerton and Hanover will head to Mitchell.