It was the first game that I took in this season at Galt Arena on Sunday when the Cambridge Hawks hosted the Kitchener Jr. Rangers. Both teams were coming off of losses the previous evening. Cambridge was downed by Huron-Perth while Kitchener was defeated by Chatham-Kent in what can only be described as an upset.
In a game that was thoroughly dominated by Kitchener, it was the Jr. Rangers who needed a third period goal in order to secure the tie and a 2-2 tie would be the final in this one, giving both teams their first points on the young campaign.
As with most games that I attend this season (including the Alliance Faceoffs next weekend), I will try and give a few thoughts from each to enlighten those who were unable to attend.
Goaltending Played a Big Factor in the Tie
It was an interested matchup in net between these two teams. The Hawks had former Jr. Ranger Ben Coveny between the pipes while Kitchener countered with newcomer Jackson Dewar. It should be noted that Rhetton Kimmel was at Galt Arena, but was not in uniform. If Coveny was not in net for the Hawks, I think they would still be searching for their first point of the year.
There were a handful of scoring chances that Kitchener had that should have been capitalized on if not for the incredible reflexes and positioning of Coveny.
On the Kitchener side, it was evident that Jackson Dewar is still getting accustomed to playing with his new teammates. Dewar, who played AA in Kitchener last season, faced few shots but a vast majority of them were with the Hawks driving down the wing.
No doubt that Dewar will improve as the season progresses, but however long Rhetton Kimmel is out with determine what kind of start Kitchener will have this season.
Small Cambridge Squad Outmuscled by Kitchener
My first impression when the Hawks took to the ice on Sunday was how small in size they were compared to Kitchener. While Kitchener isn’t the largest team on earth, they did have the size advantage and used it throughout the game.
Whether it was on offense or defense, Kitchener dominated down low, behind the net and along the boards. That domination was what led to a lot of point shots by the Kitchener defense and allowed for players such as Eric Uba and Justin McCombs to get several chances from the top of the circle. Defensively, Kitchener used the boards to control the puck before cycling down low in order to regroup and begin a rush up the ice.
Early Season Rust Showed Early
It was only the second regular season game for both clubs and the rust from the summer off was clearly evident early on.
The first period took what seemed like an eternity to complete because of at least 10 icing calls. Whether it was a missed pass or just mental errors while playing 4-on-4, the first period was one to forget for both clubs.
As the game went on, the icings decreased and the pace of play got up to a level that is more associated with Minor Midget hockey at this level. One can hope that as the season continues on, that slow pace becomes a thing of the past.
Kitchener Jr. Rangers 3 Stars:
- Luke Bignell
- Sean Kawalec
- Carter Lennon
Cambridge Hawks 3 Stars:
- Ben Coveny
- Kevin Quinn
- Jack Deighan