Bulldogs hold 2-1 series lead on Patriots

Game 4 tonight in Mount Forest - weather permitting

By Josh Howald

There will be no second-round sweep for the Nicol Insurance Kincardine Bulldogs.

Still, Kincardine is in good shape heading into Game 4 of the Western Junior C semi-finals tonight (Wednesday) in Mount Forest. A win tonight would give the 'Dogs a chance to close things out at home on Friday.

"We knew this was going to be a series that would go six or seven games," said Kincardine head coach Steve Stepaniak.

"It's a long way from over, which makes winning those first two games all the more important."

After a 5-1 win in Game 1 on Family Day, the 'Dogs took a 2-0 series lead Friday night in Game 2 on the road. However, Mount Forest rebounded with a 3-2 win Sunday afternoon in Game 3 at the Davidson Centre.

"They have a good team," said Stepaniak. "They make you pay for your mistakes."

In Game 3 those mistakes came in the opening frame. Kyle Hunter and Trevor Hughson scored goals three minutes apart. Shane Vollmer got one back for the Bulldogs in the first minute of the second period from Brett Burrows and Dalton Hnatko. Hughson scored his second of the afternoon in the last minute of the period to make it 3-1 for the Pats at the second intermission. Keegan Angel scored from Mike Osadca and Luke Czuczman to bring the 'Dogs to within a goal, but that's as close as they would get.

"We carried the play for the most part," said Stepaniak. "We just didn't get the breaks on Sunday that we got in Games 1 and 2."

It was a big win for Mount Forest, particularly after Game 2 ended 4-2 in favour of Kincardine.

Angel and Shawn Moore scored goals in the first five minutes and Kincardine didn't look  back. Czuczman, Derrick Bernath, Tyler Fregona and Robert White had assists. Doug Ardis scored in the second period to make it 2-1, but Eric Langridge restored the two-goal cushion when he scored from Shawn Rooke and Gerrit Satosek with 8:02 to play. Blair Butchart scored with nine minutes remaining to again pull the Pats to within a goal, but Satosek put the game away with a goal with 31 seconds left. Moore, who leads the Western League in playoff scoring with seven goals and 15 points in seven games, assisted on the insurance marker.

As mentioned, Game 4 of this series is tonight (Wednesday) in Mount Forest. Game 5 is Friday night in Kincardine. If needed, a sixth game would be played in Mount Forest Feb. 27. A seventh and deciding game would be in Kincardine on Feb. 29.

Stepaniak figures if this series goes the distance, his depth will give Kincardine an advantage with Games 5,6 and 7 played in a four-day period.

The other Western semi-final might be already over. The Walkerton Hawks took a 3-0 series lead into Game 4 last night (Tuesday) in Mitchell. If Mitchell can stay alive, Game 5 will be played Friday night in Walkerton.