"Dogs done in six

Fight back from 3-0 only to lose in OT

By Josh Howald

They didn't roll over.

Austin Russell and the Walkerton Hawks couldn't completely stop Brett Catto, they were able to end Kincardine's playoff hopes Sunday afternoon at the Davidson Centre. (Richard Lawson photo)


The Nicol Insurance Kincardine Bulldogs battled back in the Western Junior C semi-final series, but couldn't force a Game 7. Kincardine was one shot away from playing a Friday night rubber match, but Drew Davidson scored 26 seconds into overtime to give the Walkerton Hawks an 8-7 win in Game 6, as well as this wild second round series.

"Not exactly the way we wanted to go out," said captain Brett Catto, who has now played his final junior hockey game. "But we battled."

Kincardine did battle, no question about it, or this series would have ended Friday night. Kincardine was down 3-0 in this best-of-seven series and after two close periods in Game 4, Kincardine exploded for eight third period goals to take an 11-3 win. The 'Dogs then built up a 5-1 lead in Game 5 on the road, setting the stage for Sunday's Game 6 at the Davidson Centre.

The Bulldogs trailed 7-5 in the third period, but refused to go away. Brandon Priestap and Cody Britton scored third period markers to force extra time for the second time in this series. Game 2 ended 8-7 in overtime for Walkerton, and Game 6 would end the same way.

"It's weird how it all worked out," said Catto, referring to three 8-7 decisions in this series against Walkerton. "It still really hasn't hit me yet. Not sure if it ever will."

Catto and Britton certainly did their part. They each scored 14 times in 11 playoff games, and bow out of the Western Junior C postseason as the two leading scorers - Britton with 29 points and Catto with 26.

Sunday was the final game that Catto, Britton, Jamie Miller and Tanner Simpson will play as Bulldogs. The overage players carried a lion's share of the offence this season for Kincardine, and Kincardine has some awfully big holes to fill on next season's roster.

This was supposed to be the year for Kincardine, who can now only watch as the Walkerton Hawks lock horns with the Wingham Ironmen in the Western League championship series. The Ironmen completed a four-game sweep of the Hanover Barons on Friday night with a 9-1 win on the road. Wingham outscored the Barons 37-8 in that four game series.

Kincardine was also eliminated by Walkerton in last year's WJCHL semi-final series, though last year the Hawks needed just four games to knock the Bulldogs out. Kincardine finished fourth overall in the Western Junior C Hockey League regular season with a record of 17-16-2. The Bulldogs then eliminated the Mitchell Hawks in the opening round of the playoffs in five games to advance to the semi-finals against Walkerton.

A series schedule for Wingham and Walkerton had not been finalized as of press time, but it will be posted on our website once it is confirmed.