By John DeCoste
The Kings Mutual major bantam Wildcats faced a stern test on the Jan. 13 to 15 weekend – three games in less than 48 hours.
When it was over, the Wildcats, led by an inspired performance from rookie Drake Batherson, picked up five of a possible six points with two wins and a tie.
On Friday, Jan. 13, Kings Mutual held off the MCK Ice Dawgs 7-5 in Halifax. Saturday in Berwick, the Wildcats came back to earn a 3-3 tie with Scotsburn Crushers, then beat the Crushers 6-5 the next morning.
In Halifax, Kings Mutual came back from an early 2-0 deficit with four unanswered goals in the second period. Batherson, Michael Dill, Duncan McKie and Tanner Forrest had the goals.
The Wildcats tallied three more in the third period, with Batherson (on the power play), Ryan Parker and William Johnston doing the scoring.
Batherson ended up with two goals and two assists, Dill a goal and two assists, and Johnston and McKie a goal and an assist.
In Berwick, call-up Eli Hughes’s fourth goal of the season early in the third period tied the score 3-3.
MaKail Parker and Dill staked Kings Mutual to a 2-0 first period lead, with Batherson assisting on both goals.
Scotsburn responded with three second-period goals to take the lead.
The same two teams were at it the next morning in a 10:30 a.m. start, and both came out smoking offensively, combining for six first period goals.
Batherson, Hughes and Cody Burghardt scored for the Wildcats.
A power-play goal by McKie and Batherson’s second of the game, sandwiched around a Scottsburn goal, staked Kings Mutual to a 5-4 lead after two periods.
Scotsburn tied the score midway through the third, but Dill broke the tie with his ninth of the season with 2:48 left.
The results improved the Wildcats’ record to 11-6-7 for 29 points, good for fifth place but just one point out of fourth and two out of third.
As for Batherson, his nine points in three games, including two goals and an assist Sunday, increased his team-leading scoring totals to 17 goals and 18 assists for 35 points in 24 games.
Batherson, who took over as the league’s top scoring rookie, was named the Player of the Week for his efforts.