Josh Lewis - The Clarion
After a disappointing loss against the La Ronge Ice Wolves on Wednesday, the Kindersley Klippers are back at the .500 mark after a well-played 2-1 victory over the Notre Dame Hounds on Saturday.
Major product Andrew Dommett scored both goals and provided a couple of heavy hits in Saturday’s win, which saw the Klippers (2-2) put in their most complete effort to date.
The left winger scored the game-winner with 11:30 remaining in the third period, just moments after Notre Dame’s Patrick Thompson-Gale rung a hard wrister off the left post off the rush.
Johnny Calkins streaked down the left side with the puck and dumped it off to Dommett in front of the net at the last second for a one-timer that Dubyk wasn’t ready for.
The goal came after nearly two minutes of high-charged action at both ends. About eight minutes into the period, Josh Thorimbert came out of his net to get to a loose puck before three Hounds forecheckers and Klippers defenceman Johnathon Sonntag, who returned from a collapsed lung. The netminder gave the puck away and the resulting shot just missed the left post of the empty cage.
Thirty seconds later, Steven Turner claimed a clear victory in a fight with Hounds forward Steven Klips, and Thompson-Gale dinged the iron not long after.
“I think there was a little bit of, I wouldn’t say chaos, but a little stress going around,” said Klippers head coach Larry Wintoneak.
Thorimbert posted a stellar outing in his first Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League start, turning aside 22 of 23 shots and making some big stops at key times.
“Thorny played outstanding,” said Wintoneak of the 17-year-old. “For his first game, he probably fought through a lot of nervousness. He’s going to be a good goalie in this league and he’s going to get better, the more games he plays. Obviously (Hounds goalie Deven Dubyk) was phenomenal. He made some huge saves.”
Indeed, Dubyk was the only thing preventing the Klippers from breaking the game open in the first 40 minutes, when the Hounds were doubled up 22-11 on the shot clock. The final shots were 30-23 for Kindersley.
Dommett opened the scoring 5:22 into the first period, trailing Braeden Adamyk on a breakaway and cleaning up the trash on the rebound.
Hounds defenceman James Howden leveled the score nine minutes later, though, threading a wrister from the left point through power play traffic.
Wintoneak was pleased with his team’s performance after a lacklustre effort against La Ronge, who finished in the league basement last year.
“A different team showed up tonight, obviously. You saw the work ethic. If you don’t work, you’re not going to win and I think that was the message. We really supported the puck well in all areas of the ice,” he observed. “It was one of those games where you get a little worried because you’ve had a lot of chances. They did hit two posts and after that last post, we came back and scored. Sometimes the hockey gods are taking care of you.”
Meanwhile, Wintoneak only needed one word to sum up Wednesday’s loss.
“We had no urgency. When your top players aren’t your top players, you’re not going to win,” he said. “There was no urgency, I can’t express myself any more. You gotta have urgency. When you’re on the power play and penalty kill, they’re called special teams for a reason, because they are special and that ice time is valuable. We got outworked in a lot of areas and it’s disappointing. I think some guys took advantage and thought it’d be easy and it’s not easy in this league.
“I thought our two centremen (Jordan Braid and Calkins) were invisible and when your top two guys are invisible, it doesn’t help.”
A key setback for the Klippers was not being able to score on a five-on-three early in the second period that lasted for nearly a full two minutes.
Turner and Ryan Benn scored for the home side, which was outshot 41-36. La Ronge got a pair of goals from Ben Findlay and singles from Taylor Greenbank and Adam Moar.
Sean Flanagan returned to the team’s blueline Wednesday after going down to injury early in the season opener.The Melville Millionaires come to town for a two-game set on Thursday and Saturday, with both games beginning at 7 p.m. The defending Credit Union Cup champion Humboldt Broncos visit next Wednesday.