Bulldogs beat Barons, but lose in Mitchell

Three straight games against first place Walkerton on deck

By Josh Howald

Testing, testing - 1, 2, 3.

Brett Catto carries the puck over the Hanover blue line in Western Junior C hockey action. Catto had two points in this contest. (Independent file photo)

That’s how many times the Nicol Insurance Kincardine Bulldogs will face the Walkerton Hawks in consecutive Western Junior C hockey games.

“It is some wierd scheduling,” said Kincardine captain Brett Catto. “It’s two huge weekends for us – playing Walkerton three times in two weekends, it could define our season.”

The first of those three battles will go Friday night in Walkerton at 8:20 p.m. Seven days later, the ‘Dogs will be back in Walkerton for another Friday night game at the same time. Sunday, Nov. 17, the teams will meet at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine in a 4 p.m. start.

Walkerton is back in sole possession of first place after two weekend wins, in which they didn’t allow a goal. They smoked the Hanover Barons 10-0 and beat third place Mitchell 4-0. The Hawks have 23 points, one more than the Wingham Ironmen and two more than Mitchell. Nine points back is the fourth place Kincardine Bulldogs, who also had games with Hanover and Mitchell this weekend. Friday night the ‘Dogs doubled up the still-winless Hanover Barons 4-2, but some penalty trouble in the third period cost Kincardine a hockey game Sunday night in Mitchell.

“We need to be a more complete team,” said Catto. “We wanted to come out and get a good start on Sunday, which we did. But we ran into some penalties, and they capitalized. That was the difference.”Brent Rae and Tyler Pauli scored power play goals in a five-minute span in the third period to give Mitchell a 5-2 win over Kincardine. The Bulldogs scored the only goal of the first period, when Paul Lamont set up Cody Britton to make it 1-0. Mitchell scored three straight second period markers, two from Travis Knight, to take a 3-1 lead to the third. Starting goalie Mitch Campbell got the hook after the third Mitchell goal after allowing three goals on 27 shots. Luke Czuzman cut the lead to 3-2 early in the third with help from Sam Feagan, but trips to the penalty box allowed the hosts to put this game away.

Tyler MacGregor made 10 stops in relief, while Ben Nelson got the win for Mitchell with 36 saves.

Campbell was between the pipes Friday night against his old club, and made 32 saves for the win, despite a shaky start.

Jarrett Kuntz scored to give the Barons a lead just nine seconds after the puck had dropped. This game remained 1-0 until a second period Kincardine power play. Britton scored from Catto and Tanner Simpson. Two minutes later, Chad Simpson put Kincardine ahead from Dave Mercer and Czuzman. Tyson Soers scored for Hanover 46 seconds into the third period, but Jamie Miller scored the eventual game winner six minutes later. Tanner Simpson and Brock Pinnell, who has been a nice addition to the Kincardine blue line, assisted on the goal. Catto finished off the Barons with less than three minutes remaining, scoring his 14th goal of the season from Britton and Gerrit Satosek.

Pinnell is a big, tough defenceman from North Middlesex, picked up by the Bulldogs a few weeks ago. His experience had stabilized the back end, which certainly addressed one of Kincardine’s needs. Consistency remains an issue for the locals.

“We just need to find some consistency,” said Catto. “One step at a time. We see glimmers of what we can do, but it isn’t enough.”

Kincardine will need full 60 minute efforts in order to beat the 11-2-1 Hawks. It will be an interesting test for the Bulldogs to see how they measure up against Walkerton in three straight games.

Elsewhere in the West on the weekend, the Mount Forest Patriots, who are three points behind Kincardine in fifth place, were dumped 12-6 by first place Wingham, and earned a single point for a 5-4 overtime loss to Mitchell.

In addition to Kincardine’s Friday night game in Walkerton, the Ironmen will be in Hanover Friday night, while Mitchell visits the Patriots. Saturday, Wingham heads to Mount Forest, while Hanover will be in Walkerton.