By John DeCoste
The Kings Mutual Major Bantam Wildcats wrapped up the 2012-2013 regular season with a 12-11-8 record after a loss and two ties at a season-ending tournament in Pictou County.
The Wildcats dropped a 9-6 decision to the Mobil 1 Barons on Feb. 15, then skated to a 4-4 tie with the Western Hurricanes and a 6-6 draw with the host Scotsburn Crushers on Feb. 16.
The Wildcats’ 12-11-8 record was good for a seventh-place finish in the 12-team NSMBHL, which means Kings Mutual’s first-round playoff opponent will be the Newbridge Academy Senators, who finished sixth at 18-11-2.
The 16 goals the Wildcats scored in their three tournament games meant they finished the regular season with 120 goals scored, fourth-best in the league.
On the other hand, their 19 goals allowed meant they wrapped up the season with 122 goals allowed, the seventh-best total among league teams.
Drake Batherson had the hot hand for Kings Mutual against Mobil 1, scoring a hat trick and two assists.
Cody Burghardt added two goals and two assists, while Josh MacMillan had the other goal for the Wildcats.
The Barons had a 38-20 edge in shots on goal, and Kings Mutual goalie Paul Janes played well, despite surrendering nine goals.
Against Western Hurricanes, Dylan Riley, Alex Lewis, Batherson and Josh Foster had one goal apiece for the Wildcats.
Kate Spooner faced 41 shots in the Kings Mutual goal and stopped all but four. The Wildcats had 18 shots on goal.
Kings Mutual’s final game was against Scotsburn. The Wildcats trailed 1-0 after one period and 4-3 after two, but fought back to take a 6-5 lead before Scotsburn’s Jared Livingston scored the tying goal with 31 seconds on the clock.
Burghardt had another productive game for the Wildcats, with two goals and two assists. Austin Gough finished with two goals and one assist, and Batherson one goal and two helpers. Dylan Taylor had the other Valley goal.
This time, Janes and Spooner shared the goaltending duties, with Janes stopping 10 of 14 shots and Spooner turning aside seven of nine.
The Wildcats had 34 shots on Scotsburn goalies Tyler Howe and Jaxon Maloney.
A strong finish to the season meant Batherson led the team in goals with 25 and points with 53. He tied with Gregor MacLeod for the team lead in assists with 28.
Batherson, Cole Rafuse (19), Burghardt (16), MacLeod, Gough and Taylor (each with 10) all managed double figures in goals.
The NSMBHL playoffs were scheduled to get underway Feb. 23, with Kings Mutual opening on the road at the East Hants Sportsplex.