Weekend split for Bulldogs


By Josh Howald

The Bulldogs got into the Halloween spirit on the weekend and put on an excellent Jekyll and Hyde act.

Keegan McLelland sets to fire a shot from the slot during first period action Sunday in Kincardine's 6-4 win over the Hanover Barons at the Davidson Centre. (Josh Howald photo)


On Friday night, the Goderich Flyers knocked off the Bulldogs 6-3 in Goderich. The win gives Goderich two on the season - the only other win they have also came over Kincardine earlier this season. Head coach Shawn Burrows was less than impressed.

"We had way too many passengers," he said. "There was no effort - they completely outplayed us and (Goderich) deserved the win."

But Burrows was pleased with the other team that showed up to play on Sunday afternoon at home. The Bulldogs came out on top in a wild back-and-forth shootout against the Hanover Barons. It was a key victory for Kincardine, who needed the win to remain in third place in the Pollock Division of the Provincial Junior Hockey League standings.

"It was a big two points for us," he said. "The boys showed up with the right attitude and work ethic to beat a good team from Hanover."

No question Kincardine got out to a good start on Sunday. The 'Dogs held a 2-0 lead before the game was seven minutes old. Brett Burrows scored 2:11 in from Keegan McLelland and Grant Stevens to make it 1-0, and Dalton Hnatko scored from Derrick Bernath 30 seconds later. However, before the period ended, the Barons scored twice in a span of 1:06 to even the score. Josh Keuneman struck first, then Cole Leslie fired a snapper bar down to make it 2-2.

McLelland put the Bulldogs back in the lead 50 seconds into the middle frame with a power play goal from Hnatko. The Barons battled back and tied the game seven minutes later on a Matt Shields goal. Brett Zabel put Hanover in the lead heading into the third period with a goal late in the frame.

Kincardine had a big third period, however, and scored three unanswered goals to take this game 6-4. Jesse Gunn scored from Keegan Angel to tie things up early in the period and Will Rickerby scored the eventual game winner on a powerplay midway through the period. Logan Swanton and Hnatko drew the assists. Tyler Fregona iced the contest with an unassisted goal with nine minutes to go.

The 'Dogs chased Noah Leis from the crease after three goals, but it was Cody vanderHeide who took the loss in goal for Hanover. He allowed three goals on 16 shots. Malcolm Young posted his fifth win of the season in net for the Bulldogs. He made 33 saves.

With the win, Kincardine remained one point ahead of the Barons with a record of 7-7-1.

The previous night in Goderich, the Bulldogs actually outshot the Flyers 38-22 but as mentioned, fell 6-3 to the PJHL's last place team.

Mike Fiegehen, Bernath and Gunn scored for the Bulldogs. Ryan Stulp had a pair for the Flyers, while single goals were scored by Trent Michie, Tyler Stacey, Mitch Newson and Jack Francis.

Nathan Watson made 35 saves for the win, while Craig Luinstra stopped 26 shots in the loss.

Walkerton and Mitchell continue to battle for first place. Walkerton is two points up on Mitchell after the weekend with 25 points and a 12-2-1 record to Mitchell's 11-3-1.

Kincardine's defence corps was bolstered on the weekend by the return of Payton Dunlop. Dunlop, from Kincardine, played the last two seasons with the Alliston Hornets of the Georgian Bay Mid-Ontario League and looked good on the weekend.

"We are excited and happy to have him home," said Burrows. "He will be a great addition - he makes our D better."

This weekend, the Bulldogs host the fifth-place Mount Forest Patriots Friday night at the Davidson Centre. The puck will drop at 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, Kincardine will head to Hanover for a rematch with the Barons at the P&H Centre. Game time Saturday night is 8 p.m.