Thrilling finish as Winterhawks advance with a 6-5 OT win
by John Peevers
Photos by Tiffany Wilson

February 18, 2017



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'Hawks cheer when Jeff MacDermid scores in overtime

It was a thrilling finish to an exciting game and series when Jeff MacDermid jammed home a puck in overtime for a 6-5 win over the Durham Thundercats advancing the Winterhawks to the second round.

The first period was all Durham as the Winterhawks came out flat while the Thundercats played like a team with its back to the wall. Randy Cox scored a minute and a half into the game after the Winterhawks struggled to clear the zone.

Winterhawks forward Trent Hawke fights for the puck as Thundercats Keith MacMillan gains control shooting it out of his zone

The Hawks struggles in their own zone continued later in the first as Ben Davis beat Jeff Flagler on the short side to make it 2-0.

Thundercat Dean Nixon goes in for a check against Winterhawks forward

A different Winterhawks team came flying out of the gate for the second period as the Hawks scored a shorthanded goal two minutes in as Andy Fracz buried a pass from Andy Mitchell.

Winterhawks' forward Curtis Johnston goes for the puck after a shot from the point misses the net

Durham battled back two minutes later as Tom Longland scored an unassisted goal batting a bouncing puck past Flagler.

The end to end action continued and the Hawks answered back 20 seconds later with Andy Fracz, Alex Kuntz and Chris King showed some great hustle with Fracz scoring his second of the game to make it 3-2.


Winterhawk Andy Mitchell wins the face-off outside Durham zone

Fans had to wait  a full 18 seconds for the next goal as Ben Davis restored the two goal margin for Durham.

Brendon Haefling, playing one of his best games of the season, powered through the Durham defence and beat Durham goalie Gatlin Burt with a shot that Burt got a piece of but couldn't hold onto.

The Winterhawks power play, that has struggled to produce goals in this series, finally clicked as Coach Jim Grieve, who had been utilizing five forwards, changed tactics and sent big Theo Peckham to the front of the net.  The move paid off as Trent Hawke coralled a rebound and fired one past Burt to tie the game.

  Click the orange arrow to read the second column

The Hawks took their first lead of the game when Jeff MacDermid was awarded a penalty shot late in the third and beat Burt cleanly with a shot to the glove side.

It looked like that might seal the deal for the Hawks but a late penalty led to a power play goal for Durham's Derek Matheson setting the stage for MacDermid's overtime heroics.

Winterhawks goaltender Jeff Flagler gets ready for the face-off

Flagler saves the puck as Durham Thundercats have no other choice than to fall over him

Following the goal, Burt, who has a reputation and a history as a loose cannon, tried to mix it up with the Winterhawks who were celebrating.

He then punched Winterhawk Theo Peckham as the two teams were shaking hands and later went into the stands after leaving the ice to try to get at a Winterhawks fan.

There were several Saugeen Shores Police on hand and they quickly restored order.

A little Storm hockey action in-between periods

The 'Hawks second round opponent is not yet known as they await the completion of the Mapleton-Tillsonburg series and the Clinton-Tavistock series.

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Sunday, February 19, 2017