'Dogs come from behind in Mitchell

But collect just one of four possible weekend points

By Josh Howald

Despite earning just one of a possible four points on the weekend, the Nicol Insurance Kincardine Bulldogs closed things out on a positive note.

Shawn Moore is foiled by Cole Wardlaw of the Mount Forest Patriots Friday night at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine. (Richard Lawson photo)


The Bulldogs came from behind to earn a 3-3 tie Sunday evening in Mitchell. Jordan Bell's first goal of the season salvaged what could have been a lost weekend for Kincardine, who dropped a close 3-2 decision on Friday night at home. That leaves Kincardine with a 1-2-1 record in Western Junior C action with three points, even with the Mitchell Hawks in fourth place.

Parity continues to be the name of the game in the West thus far in the early going of the regular season. All four of Kincardine's games have been settled by a single goal.

That includes Friday night's home game against the Mount Forest Patriots. The Bulldogs came out flying, and controlled the early going. Kincardine outshot the Pats 11-3 in the opening frame, but trailed by a goal at the first break. Doug Costanzo scored on Mount Forest's second shot of the night, beating Mitch Campbell at 13:31.

The Bulldogs evened the score when rookie Brett Burrows notched his first goal of the season. Burrows battled through the slot and hammered a bouncing puck past Mount Forest goaltender Cole Wardlaw. Derrick Bernath and Brady Richards drew the assists. Late in the frame, Kincardine found itself short two men. Bell and Colin Whitfield were both in the penalty box serving minor penalties when Mitch Betts fired a puck through traffic that Campbell never saw. It found a bottom corner with 2:21 left in the middle stanza, giving Mount Forest a 2-1 lead heading to the third. Kincardine answered back with a power play goal of their own midway through the third period. Trevor Hughes was ejected for a check to the head, and the 'Dogs tied the game when Matthew Mah set up Patrick Wiejak. But with 3:32 to play, Brendon Aitken scored the go-ahead goal for Mount Forest. An attempt to pull Campbell for an extra attacker went wrong, with the 'Dogs ending up being penalized with 51 seconds remaining for having too many players on the ice. Campbell was on his way to the bench, but a turnover forced him to head back to his crease. Kincardine recovered the puck, and Campbell restarted his skate to the bench, but the extra attacker was already on the ice. Time ran out on the Bulldogs, as the Patriots grabbed a 3-2 win and remained undefeated, 3-0, this season.

Wardlaw made 34 stops for the win, while Campbell made 22 saves and is tagged with the loss.

Sunday night in Mitchell, Kincardine found itself trailing just 1:09 after the puck dropped. Josh Den Otter scored an early goal for the Hawks. Ten minutes later, Mitchell grabbed a 2-0 lead when Jake Finlayson scored on a Hawks power play. Another power play goal midway through the second period appeared to give Mitchell a firm grip on this game, but Kincardine didn't roll over. Sam Feagan scored from Chad Simpson and Dalton Hnatko on a Kincardine man advantage with 4:41 to play in the second period to get the Bulldogs on the board. Simpson then pulled the Bulldogs within a goal when a nice goal early in the third period. Feagan and Mike Osadca had the assists. Then, with 4:05 remaining, Bell scored from Bernath to knot this game at 3-3. Under the new Western Junior C rules, the teams played five minutes of 4-on-4 overtime, and then after that solved nothing, five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime. Neither team, however, could take advantage of the extra ice, so the game ended in a draw.

Luke Althouse made his first start of the season in the Kincardine net, and made 37 saves. At the other end, Clay Carter stopped 31 shots for the Hawks. The tie left the teams with identical records.

After two weekends of action, both Walkerton and Mount Forest remain undefeated with perfect 3-0 records. The Pats dumped Mitchell 7-2 on Saturday night, while the Hawks beat the Wingham Ironmen 5-3 on Friday. At the other end of the standings, Goderich is still searching for their first win after losing to Hanover 6-2 Friday and Wingham 9-0 on Saturday.

There is a rare mid-week game in the West this week. Goderich will visit Mitchell tonight (Wednesday) for an 8:30 p.m. start. Friday night, Mitchell and the Bulldogs will play a rematch, this time at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine. Game time is 8:30 p.m. It's the first of two weekend starts for the Bulldogs. Saturday night, Kincardine will head to the Sifto Centre in Goderich for a 7:30 p.m. game.

Elsewhere this weekend, Goderich is in Walkerton on Friday, while Hanover visits Wingham. On Saturday night, Hanover is in Mitchell and Walkerton visits Mount Forest for a battle of the first place clubs. There is one Sunday game in the league this weekend, a 2:50 p.m. game in Mitchell between the Hawks and the Walkerton Hawks.