Bulldogs could sweep Flyers tonight

Kincardine leading Western League series 3-0
Section: 
Sports

By Josh Howald

It could be an opening round sweep for the Nicol Insurance Kincardine Bulldogs tonight (Wednesday) in Goderich.

Jacob Hutchings has been solid when called upon thus far in the Western Junior C League playoffs. Here, he tracks the puck during Game 3 of Kincardine's opening round series against Goderich. (Josh Howald photo)

 

The Bulldogs won Games 1, 2 and 3 of this Western Junior C League quarter-final series on the weekend. The games had varying degrees of difficulty, but all three were filled with game ejections and plenty of penalty minutes. So forget the gate, the 'Dogs want to get down with the Flyers and move on to the next round.

"It won't be easy," said Kincardine coach Steve Stepaniak on Monday morning. "One thing we have seen from Goderich is that there is no quit in their game and they play right to the end. But yes, the goal is to win tonight and sweep so we can get a weekend off to practise and prepare for the next round."

Game 3 was the closest game of the series, a 6-4 Kincardine win Sunday afternoon at the Davidson Centre. It was 2-2 heading to the third period, but Kincardine outshot the Flyers 26-4 in the final frame and were leading 5-3 when the Flyers made a late push with 1:04 to go. But the 'Dogs sealed it when captain Matthew Mah scored into an empty net goal.

"For the most part we have played well," said Stepaniak. "Goderich has played very physical and our guys have responded well to that."

Shawn Moore scored first for Kincardine, but back-to-back goals from Trent Michie made it 2-1 for the Flyers at the first break. Gerrit Satosek scored a power play goal for the 'Dogs in the second period from Tyler Fregona. Logan Frieburger, Moore and Fregona had third period goals for Kincardine, while Jordan Pepper scored for Goderich to make it a 4-3 game and Michie had the late goal for the hat trick that made it 5-4. The 'Dogs outshot the Flyers 47-19.

"We could tighten things up a bit defensively and our discipline needs to improve," added Stepaniak.

Game 3 was much tighter than Game 2 the previous night in Goderich. The Bulldogs tore the Flyers to pieces Saturday night and scored five third period goals to bury the Flyers 10-0. The rout was highlighted by a six-point game from Moore and a natural hat trick for Eric Langridge. Before this game was five minutes old, Moore - a native of Goderich - had scored twice; the first only 12 seconds after the puck dropped. Mah and Satosek assisted on both of them. Moore then set up Fregona before the first period ended and Langridge early in the third, giving him a point on each of the first five goals. Langridge scored again later in the second period from Brett Burrows and Dalton Hnatko to give Kincardine a five-goal lead. Langridge completed the hat trick 1:17 into the third period from Moore and Freiburger. The flood gates were open, and Mike Osadca made it 7-0 from Derrick Bernath, Freiburger made it 8-0 from Brady Richards and Moore completed a hat trick with seven minutes to go from Patrick Wiejak. Shane Vollmer completed the scoring from Burrows with 4:20 remaining.

Not surprisingly, things got chippy in such a lopsided game. Numerous players were ejected in a melee shortly after Kincardine's 10th goal in the third period.

"They had a few guys get stupid Saturday night, which is normal in a 10-0 game, but the refs did a great job of keeping things under control," said Stepaniak. "(Goderich) will have a couple of suspensions carrying into (tonight's) Game 4, but we have everyone available."

In Game 1 Friday night at the Davidson Centre, the Bulldogs got goals from six different players in a 6-3 victory. Vollmer, Bernath and Rookie scored in the first period. Michie replied for the Flyers. Luke Fraser made it 3-2 with a  power play goal, but Satosek scored a big goal with 37 seconds left in the period. The shorthanded marker made it 4-2 heading for the third. Mah and Hnatko assisted. With eight minutes to go, Burrows made it 5-2 from Vollmer and Mah. Brandon Priestap scored for the Flyers to bring them to within three, but Fregona put a stamp on Game 1 with an empty netter with 13 seconds to go. The Bulldogs outshot Goderich 38-19.

As mentioned, tonight's Game 4 is 8:30 p.m. at the old Goderich arena. If the Flyers can stay alive, they would have to play Game 5 in Kincardine Friday night. If necessary, Game 6 would be in Goderich Saturday and Game 7 Sunday afternoon in Kincardine.

The other two quarter-final series have been much tighter than the one between Kincardine and Goderich. The Hanover Barons led the Mount Forest Patriots 2-1 heading into Game 4 last night in Hanover. The Patriots shut out the Barons in Game 1, but Hanover bounced back with an overtime win in Game 2 and a 5-2 win in Game 3.

Mitchell and Wingham, meanwhile, are all even at 2-2. Game 5 of that series is tomorrow (Thursday) night in Mitchell, with Game 6 back in Wingham Saturday night. Each game has been close, with the last two ending 4-3 for Wingham and 2-1 for MItchell.

The Walkerton Hawks earned a first round bye and will face the lowest seeded team to advance.