Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Kodiaks take 14-11 overtime thriller from Rock

David Joyce (right) and the KW Kodiaks bounced back from a lopsided loss
to Peterborough to earn a 14-11 overtime win over Oakville Monday.
(Photo: Kendall Taylor)
Kedoh Hill had lots of time to sit and think about what he'd done and what he wanted to do if he got a chance. The Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks forward had three goals in KW's crucial early-season contest with Oakville Monday at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre when he was pushed down by the Rock's Jason Noble while heading to the net with about seven minutes to play in the third period.

Frustrated that a possession call wasn't made, Hill got off the floor and slashed Noble, drawing a minor penalty. He exacerbated the situation by chirping as he went to the penalty box, drawing a 10-minute misconduct. That meant he had to sit and watch as Oakville scored the last two goals of regulation time, including a Stephan Leblanc power play marker on his penalty, to tie the game 10-10 and force overtime.

Six minutes elapsed in the extra frame before anyone got on the board, Rob Hellyer giving the Rock their first lead since the first period. Derek Searle sent Dylan Goddard up the floor with a breakout pass that Goddard turned into a gorgeous twisting run through three Rock players to bury the game tying goal 27 seconds later.

Then Hill, finally released from the penalty box, went to work. He put home another pair of goals, one of them shorthanded, to lead KW to a 14-11 win that improves the Kodiaks to 3-2 while handing Oakville their fourth straight loss to open the season.

“I just felt bad because it was a close game late in the third and I was talking too much,” Hill said after the game. “I should have just gone to the bench. I just thought if I get out there again I'm just going to do what I can to help the team, do what I have to do, start shooting more I guess.”

Hill had to undergo some anxious moments after he found himself wide open on top of the crease with the ball and fired a shot that Nick Rose shouldered aside rather with 36 seconds to play, rather than running away and killing time to protect the Kodiaks' two-goal lead. The Rock couldn't beat Davide DiRuscio in the KW net when they got a shot, though, and Jordan Dance closed things out with an empty net goal.

Besides Hill's 5 goals, Corey Fowler had 6 assists for KW and Joey Cupido had an excellent game in transition, scoring twice and adding a pair of assists. Cupido backed up his words from after Saturday's crushing 15-4 loss to Peterborough in Cobourg, when he said that they would be much better Monday and get a win against Oakville.

Shayne Adams had 2 goals and 3 assists to lead the Rock. His last point was the most critical and the most sensational. The lefty forward was on his knees just off the crease as a shot from outside bounced off DiRuscio's leg pad and rolled out of the crease. With Jamie Batson, who had another strong game defensively for the Kodiaks, bending to pick up the ball, Adams lurched forward to knock it through Batson's legs, scooped it into his stick and slotted it low and just inside the far post as he fell to his stomach.

That comeback was heartening for a Rock team that has had a difficult start but had many of its star players back for this game. Ultimately it just wasn't enough, though. “It's tough. We showed a lot of character battling back, down a bit in the third,” said the Rock's Jason Noble. “Things were looking our way, but the last five minutes we fell asleep a bit and it cost us the game. That can't happen in this league against anyone.

“No excuses anymore. We have all our guys back now; missing one or two but I'm sure everybody's missing one or two. No excuse any more, we've just got to play better.”