The Saugeen Shores Winterhawks stormed back from a two-goal deficit, but couldn’t hold on against the Huron East Centenaires on Friday night at The Plex.
Huron East scored three times in the 3rd period, including an empty netter, as they secured a 6-4 win over the Winterhawks.
The game started out promising, as Miles MacLean opened the scoring 1:14 into the game, taking a two-on-one feed from Matt Shields, blasting a one-timer past Huron East netminder Jesse Raymond.
Huron East would take over not long after, as Brendon Merritt would score on a rebound, beating Jeff Flagler to even the score at 3:18.
Cal Penney would put the Centenaires up 2-1 at 9:56, knocking a loose puck past Flagler.
Lucas Wilson completed a three-goal opening frame for Huron East, as the Winterhawks struggled to match the Centenaires’ pace.
Raymond would hold off the Winterhawks, who could not find the net again in the opening frame, despite directing 17 shots on goal.
They would get to Raymond early in the 2nd, as Adam Little stole the puck from a Huron East defender, sending himself and James McHaig in on a two-on-one.
Little made a beautiful pass to McHaig, who slid the puck around Raymond to get the Winterhawks to within one.
The Winterhawks penalty killers would keep the score at 3-2, holding off the Huron East power play twice in the period.
That set the stage for a dramatic 15 seconds late in the period.
Little would score his first of the season at 18:43, finding a loose puck at the side of the net, beating Raymond, with assists to Jay Thomson and Aeric Annetta to make it a 3-3 game.
The Winterhawks felt the momentum, as they struck again 15 seconds later, when Andy Mitchell tucked a loose puck behind Raymond, giving the Winterhawks a 4-3 lead.
Josh Hopkin and Curtis Johnston picked up assists on Mitchell’s go-ahead goal.
A late penalty would prove costly, though, as it carried over to the 3rd period, where Huron East would tie the game up.
35-seconds into the final frame, Dalton Good would find himself in good position at the side of the net, as a wide point shot careened off the back-boards and onto his stick, beating a helpless Flagler.
Five minutes later, Flagler did himself no favours, as he attempted to play a Huron East shoot-in, but ended up turning the puck over to Wilson, who got the puck in front to Dan Bryan, who scored before Flagler could scamper back into the crease.
The Winterhawks pressed late, but Raymond came up huge for Huron East, who added an empty netter in the dying seconds to make it a 6-4 final.
Little was named The Wismer House Player of the Game for his one goal, one assist effort.
The Winterhawks won’t have to wait long for redemption, as they are back in action tonight [Saturday], heading to Seaforth for a rematch with the Centenaires.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.