Kam River’s hearts were heavy as they faced off against the Steinbach Pistons on Sunday. Former Walleye player Dayton Clarke died tragically in a car accident in Oregon. Steinbach won the game 5-2, in essentially a must-win for both teams.
The 6’3″, 225-pound forward out of Victoria, BC played 14 regular season games last year with the Walleye, scoring 10 goals and assisting on five others. In 10 playoff games, Clarke had four goals, six assists for 10 points.
This year Clarke played with the University of Oregon of the ACHA, recording five points in 15 contests.
Euan Morrison switched his number to 91 to honour Clarke’s number 10, which hung on the glass behind the players’ bench. There was a moment of silence for Dayton, who would have turned 22 in July.
Steinbach’s win was their first of the tournament. Kam River is winless in Pool B. They will face Collingwood on Tuesday, with no chance to advance.
Kirk Mullen corralled a loose puck and clicked on a backhander to give Steinbach a 1-0 lead at 5:07 of the first. Kam River’s Jack Cook accepted Ryan Doucette’s pass, made a move in the Piston zone, and sniped one high glove side to tie it at 8:14. Steinbach re-took the lead just 16 seconds later. Brett Kaiser tucked in a rebound past Eric Vanska.
The Pistons maintained a lead for the rest of the game.
A crucial (and controversial) four-minute minor penalty late in the second period for slew-footing (recorded as tripping) proved costly for the Walleye.
Landon Roberts scored eight seconds in on a tip-in at 19:05 to make it 3-1 for Steinbach, wiping out the first penalty in the process.
Ty Paisley scored at 0:55 of the third period to up the lead to 4-1 while working on the next two minutes of powerplay time. Ian Amsbaugh’s shot knuckled in past Vanska at 13:44 of the third.
Ethan Lang went top shelf in tight quarters with 1:25 left to make it 5-2.
Doucette and Morrison assisted on both Kam River goals. Max Leduc was a notable scratch from the game, still nursing a hit he took in game 2. Kam River took all six minor penalties assessed in the game.
Steinbach capitalized on two of their six powerplay opportunities.
Amsbaugh picked up two assists in addition to his goal. Mullen added a helper.
Vanska made 42 saves in the Kam River net, while Dominik Wasik had 26 stops in the Steinbach cage for the win.
The Walleye have Monday off, resuming play Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. against the Collingwood Blues (1 win, 1 OT win, 5 points).