Sunday, June 23, 2013

KW Kodiaks and Oakville Rock tie 6-6

The last time the Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks and the Oakville Rock met in Oakville, the Rock held a 6-5 lead with four minutes left to play. KW scored a goal to tie it up, then Mike Poulin hit Mitch Wilde with a perfect breakout pass that Wilde buried for the game winning goal. Last night, the Rock led 6-5 with four minutes to play. KW scored a goal to tie it up. Neither team could find the back of the net the rest of the way, though, so it was off to overtime. And this time, it was the Rock with the chance to win it on a breakout play as Tye Belanger led Graham Bergsma perfectly with a lofted pass straight up the middle of the floor with just over two minutes to go in the extra frame. No dice on a game winner this time, though. Daly's shot went just wide, the teams played the rest of overtime without scoring and they finished in a 6-6 tie.

Both teams were missing key cogs to their offence: Aaron Wilson, Jamie Rooney and Corey Fowler were all out for the Kodiaks while the Rock were without Stephan Leblanc. That at least partly explains why, despite plenty of shots being taken (56 by Oakville and 54 by KW) there weren't bucketloads of good scoring opportunities. The defences and goaltenders deserve plenty of credit for that. Both Poulin and Belanger handled most of the outside shots they faced and both made some great saves in close at crucial times of the game.

Neither team was able to score at all for the first 11:40 of the game, when Craig England finally broke the drought, taking a rebound off the back boards and tucking it just inside the right post to give KW the lead. They were up 3-1 after the first period, then the teams scored a pair of goals each in the second to head to the final 20 minutes with the Kodiaks ahead 5-3.

Kyle Aquin ripped home a shot off a cross-floor pass on a Rock power play then Nic Grasby connected a minute and half later and the game was tied 5-5 at 7:45. Oakville took its first lead of the game thanks to a Dilan Gilbert goal at 12:41. Gilbert took an overhand shot from a few feet outside the crease, followed it and picked up the rebound off of Poulin's chest and deposited the ball into the far side of the net.

What turned out to be the final goal of the game was a heart-breaker for Oakville. Belanger stopped a long shot as the shot clock was about to expire then flipped a short pass to Eric Pitre as he stepped out of his crease. Pitre went to pass the ball up the floor, but Brandon Ivey jumped, intercepted the pass and fired it into the open net before Belanger could recover. To his credit, Pitre was one of the best players on the floor in the overtime period, working hard to try to overcome his error.

With the tie, KW is still two points ahead of Oakville for fourth place in the MSL standings, although the Rock have two games in hand. Oakville does pull a point ahead of the Brampton Excelsiors. Oakville is back in action Monday night as they play host to the Brooklin Redmen. KW returns to the floor with a home game Tuesday night against Brampton.