Bulldogs drop two to Pats


By Josh Howald

Though Kincardine had a chance to gain ground on the first place Walkerton Hawks, it was the Mount Forest Patriots that made the most significant move in the Western Junior C Hockey League standings.

Doug Costanzo celebrates Riley O'Connell's game winning goal Friday night at the Davidson Centre while Bulldogs goaltender Luke Aulthouse fishes the puck from the Kincardine net. (Josh Howald photo)


The Patriots defeated Kincardine twice in a weekend home-and-home set to move within six points of the second place Bulldogs.

Kincardine, missing six regulars from the line-up this weekend due to exams and other commitments, were hardly dominated by the retooled Patriots. Both games were close, and the Bulldogs outshot Mount Forest in both games.

"Where it hurt the most was on the power play," said head coach Steve Stepaniak. "Especially Friday night - we had a few power play chances in the third period and couldn't capitalize. It's tough when you're missing key guys and others have to step into those situations without practice."

Mount Forest, meanwhile, scored two power play goals and twice in the third period in Friday night's 5-2 win at the Davidson Centre.

Kincardine jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Brett Burrows and Shane Vollmer. Vollmer's goal was a shorthanded marker assisted by his younger brother Rhys, who had been called up from the Kincardine Miller Insurance midget Kinucks to help fill out the roster. Brady Richards and Patrick Wiejak had assists on the Burrows goal. Mount Forest made it 2-1 only 23 seconds after Vollmer's shorthanded tally. Michael Stephanelli did the damage, scoring for the Pats with Richards off for slashing.

Doug Costanzo tied the game with his 25th goal of the season on a Mount Forest power play early in the second. Eight minutes later, Doug Ardis put Mount Forest up by a goal. But the 'Dogs tied things up before the second intermission. Defenceman Shawn Rooke, playing in his first game as Kincardine Bulldog, scored from Shane Vollmer and Jordan Bell. Rooke was acquired from the Niagara Falls Canucks of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League last week.

Rooke impressed Stepaniak, who had never seen him play before Friday night.

"I thought he was good in both games," he said. "He has played three years of Junior B hockey, and it looks like he will be a guy we can lean on going down the stretch."

The game winning goal came early in the third. Riley O'Connell was skating down the right wing when he tossed a harmless looking wrist shot at the Kincardine net. It somehow eluded Luke Aulthouse, who also would probably like a do-over on Mount Forest's third goal, but was otherwise strong between the pipes. He stopped 27 shots in the loss.

Matheiu Ouellette was very good at the other end. He turned aside numerous Kincardine chances in the third period, keeping his team in front until Stephanelli buried an insurance goal with 4:29 remaining. It ended 5-3. Ouellette finished with 41 saves for the win.

The next night in Mount Forest, Ouellette stopped 34 shots to backstop the Patriots to a 3-2 win.

"It was similar to Friday's game," said Stepaniak, who had his starting goaltender Jacob Hutchings back between the pipes but was without All-Star defenceman Matthew Mah, who was writing an exam.

"We played with four D-men, and you could tell we were running out of gas in the last 10 minutes when we were pushing to tie."

Kincardine outshot Mount Forest 17-6 in the opening period, but went to the first break down 2-1. Troy Oakley and O'Connell gave the Pats an early two-goal lead, but Gerrit Satosek got one back on a power play late in the frame. Burrows and Rooke assisted on the goal, Satosek's 14th of the season.

Eric Langridge tied the game with an unassisted goal midway through the second. Less than two minutes later, O'Connell potted his second goal of the game to make it 3-2. It stayed that way until the final buzzer sounded.

Hutchings stopped 22 shots in the loss.

Kincardine is now 16-8-1 on the season, good for second place in the Western League standings with 22 points. That's four back of Walkerton and six ahead of the surging Patriots, now 13-9-1.

The Bulldogs have two games set for this weekend. Saturday, the Bulldogs will travel to Mitchell for a 7:15 p.m. game against the Hawks. Sunday, the ‘Dogs will host the Wingham Ironmen for a 4 p.m. game at the Davidson Centre. That will be Kincardine’s final game until Dec. 30, when they are back in Mitchell.