Fighting Walleye’s Season Draws to a Close

The undefeated Collingwood Blues defeated Kam River 4-1 to advance to the next round of the Centennial Cup. They have an important game left Wednesday night against the host Portage Terriers to determine seeding in Pool B. The Fighting Walleye, lauded for their spirit and tenacity throughout their four games, finished 0-4.

“We were right there in every single game,” said Kam River head coach Geoff Walker. “Just really proud of how the guys played. . . I think overall, except for that one period, we showed we belonged and really played well.”

Jeremy Dunmore had Kam River’s best chance in the first, hitting the side of the net on a powerplay with room to put it in. Eric Vanska stymied Pacey Sclueting on a grade A opportunity about 13 minutes in to keep the score knotted at 0-0.

Collingwood struck for two in the second frame. Bryce Sutherland broke the ice with a shot from the slot, beating Vanska glove side. Dylan Hudon doubled the lead with a shot just under the cross-bar on a breakaway. His goal came moments after the expiration of a Collingwood penalty kill.

Anthony Oviedo had a couple of good looks on the same sequence with two minutes left, but Noah Pak was able to keep the puck out for the Blues.

Pak was at it again early in the third, stopping Ryan Doucette on a good opportunity. Dunmore broke his shutout bid at 1:57, snapping one in high glove side. Shot-blocker extraordinaire Josh Morton collected the primary assist with Oviedo registering the secondary helper.

Spencer Young got an apparent goal waved off when the referee lost sight of the puck and blew the play dead. The puck snuck past Vanska and eked its way past the goal line. After a brief conference it was taken off the board.

Dunmore broke through the Collingwood defence and had great scoring chance nullified on an uncalled hook. The play continued and Collingwood’s Cam Garvey broke through at the other end and sniped top shelf for a 3-1 lead at 9:20.

Ethan Broderick’s point shot made it through traffic for a 4-1 lead at 14:23 to render the final score.

Pak saved 22 shots for Collingwood. Vanska stopped 35 and garnered player-of-the-game honours for Kam River.

Max Leduc, out for game three, took a regular turn against Collingwood and was his usual impactful self. Nickolas Fagnilli shook off an early collision with the goal post to carry on.

All goals were scored at even strength. Kam River drew two minor penalties, Collingwood three.

Kam River spends the night in Portage la Prairie, making the 800-km trek home on Wednesday morning.

“The game really didn’t mean anything for our group. We competed. It was important for us to show we were playing to win,” said Walker. “It was a very close game right down to the end. Very, very good team. Very, very good goalie. Probably the best team we saw. They competed right down to the end. . .  We were fortunate to go out there today and make a good impression on everyone who was at this tournament.”