'Dogs down a pair

Game 3 tonight in Walkerton, Game 4 Friday in Kincardine
Section: 
Sports

By Josh Howald

It's been a weird, wild week in the Western Junior C Hockey League.

Brett Catto beats Tyler MacGregor for the game, and series clinching goal in Game 5 against Mitchell last week. Catto and the Bulldogs dropped the first two games of the Western Junior C semi-finals to Walkerton, with Game 3 tonight on the road. (Josh Howald photo)

 

The Nicol Insurance Kincardine Bulldogs will head to Walkerton tonight (Wednesday) desperate to avoid stepping in a 3-0 hole. The Walkerton Hawks lead this best-of-seven semi-final series 2-0 after shutting out the 'Dogs in Game 1 and an almost unbelievable overtime win Sunday in Game 2.

"There's a lot of hockey left," said Kincardine captain Brett Catto.

If you don't believe him, just ask the Hanover Barons. The Patriots were supposed to beat the sixth place Barons, and held a 3-0 series lead. If they had, Kincardine would be in a series with first place Wingham right now. But Hanover came all the way back to win the series dramatically in Game 7 Friday night on the road and give everybody the match-ups they didn't expect.

Kincardine likely would have rather faced Walkerton, but that didn't matter when the puck was dropped Saturday night. The Hawks scored three power play goals on the way to a 4-0 shutout win. Following a scoreless opening period, Jordan Turcotte scored the only goal of the second, a power play goal. Dave Mercer made it 2-0 minutes into the third and Calvin Penney made it 3-0 for the hosts. That one also came with the Hawks up a man. Turcotte put this game out of reach with a power play goal four minutes later, his second of the game. The Bulldogs were 0-for-7 with a man advantage in Game 1.

"No question we have to stay out of the box," said Catto. "We just have to bear down and bury our chances. It comes down to who wants it more."

Both teams badly wanted Game 2. Sunday night's contest was an old fashioned wild west shootout. It had more lead changes then a horse race. The Bulldogs, suddenly, were deadly on the power play, going 3-for-3 in Game 2. Britton scored first, followed by two Walkerton goals (Davidson, Hamelin). Carter Strachan tied the game and Shawn Flynn made it 3-2 Kincardine before the first period ended. Davidson tied it up early in the second, but Dylan Hnatko restored a Kincardine lead with a shorthanded tally. Calvin Penney and David Gallo scored before the second period came to a close, leaving the score 5-4 Walkerton. Penney made it 6-4, scoring again early in the third. Catto and Tanner Simpson each scored huge goals when it mattered for Kincardine, knotting this game at 6-6 with less than 10 minutes to go. Lauchlin Elder made it 7-6, but Sam Feagan tied the score with just 2:17 remaining in the game.

"It was such a weird game," said Catto.

Midway through the overtime period, Turcotte carried the puck into the Kincardine end and fired a wrist shot that squeezed through the goal pads of Mitch Campbell. It was Walkerton's 48th shot on goal.

"We deserved better, it is going to come down to who wants it more."

Tonight's game time is 7:50 p.m. in Walkerton. Game 4 is back in Walkerton Friday night at 8:30 p.m. Game 5 will be played Saturday at 8:20 p.m. If necessary, Game 6 is set for Sunday at 4 p.m. in Kincardine and Game 7 would be played Feb. 29 at 8:20 p.m in Walkerton.

Wingham leads the other semi-final series 2-0. The Ironmen hammered Hanover 8-0 in the series opener and 11-2 in the second round. Game 3 is tonight in WIngham at 8:30 p.m., and Game 4 Friday night at the P&H Centre in Hanover.

Kincardine advanced to the semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Mitchell last Tuesday night in Game 5 at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine.