Bulldogs busy building roster

Exhibition tournament in town this Sunday

By Josh Howald

Opening night gets a little closer every day. And every day, the Nicol Insurance Kincardine Bulldogs get a little closer to finalizing this year's roster.

"Training camp is going really well," said head coach Steve Stepaniak. "Everyone out now is legitimately competing for a spot."

Thursday night, the Bulldogs dropped a 1-0 decision to Goderich in an exhibition contest at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine. The previous week, the 'Dogs youngsters dropped a 4-2 game to Hanover's rookies. Stepaniak said for both games he put a very young line-up on the ice with a handful of veterans sprinkled in through the rosters.

Thursday, Goderich had all of its top players dressed, and Stepaniak said it was good for his young players to play at that level and really see the physical part of the game in the Western League.

"If it weren't for three or four posts, we would have won," he said.

Stepaniak has some big decisions to make. The team has yet to decide on which four overage players it will keep this season. Captain Gerrit Satosek will be one of them, but he is the only overage player who has signed at this point. Competing for the other three roster spots are Shawn Moore, Matt Mah, Patrick Wiejak and Chad Simpson. Stepaniak expects that decision to be made this week.

"We can't really go wrong with any of these guys - we're just waiting to see how the rest of the team fills out and who will be the best fit."

Kincardine has a strong returning core group coming back, as many as 12 or 13 players. Stepaniak said the club has a couple of spots available up front and on the blue line, as well as one goaltending spot up for grabs. New players already signed to cards include Brett Burrows and Shane Vollmer, both of whom played for the Kincardine Miller Insurance midgets last season, and Keegan Angel, who played with the Grey-Bruce AAA Highlanders last year. Both Burrows and Angel saw time with the 'Dogs as affiliated players last season.

"Final decisions on the last handful of players will be made in the next week to 10 days as players start to return from Junior B camps," said Stepaniak.

Tonight the Bulldogs are in Tavistock for another exhibition game prior to this weekend's preseason tournament at the Davidson Centre.

The Bulldogs will be up first, with an 11:30 a.m. game against the Dorchester Dolphins. Then Port Stanley and Wingham will face off at 1:15 p.m. At 3:30 p.m. Dorchester will take on the Ironmen, with the day wrapping up with a game between the Bulldogs and Port Stanley at 5:15 p.m.