Flagler comes up big in shootout as Hawks beat Thundercats

It wasn’t exactly how they drew it up, but the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks exorcised some demons as they beat the Durham Thundercats on Friday night.

Goalie Jeff Flagler keeps his eye on the puck – for larger view click on image

Jeff Flagler turned aside all three Durham shooters, while Curtis Johnston scored in the skills competition to give the Winterhawks a 6-5 shootout win.

Adam Little opened the scoring 2:18 into the game, banging his own rebound past Durham netminder Gatlin Burt, with Lauchlin Elder picking up the assist.


Durham answered right back, as Randy Cox tied it up for Durham less than a minute later.

The Winterhawks had lost six-straight games against Durham, their last win dating back to Game 5 of their 2017 playoff series, but they looked to reverse that misfortune with a big 2nd period.

James McHaig stole the puck from Cox just inside the Durham blueline, rifling a shot past Burt to give the Winterhawks a 2-1 lead at 6:21 of the 2nd period.

Jay Thomson got in on the action at the 11-minute mark of the 2nd, re-directing a McHaig centering pass past Burt to make it a 3-1 game, with Josh Deyell also picking up an assist.

                 Goal makes it 3-1 for Winterhawks

That trio struck again just over three minutes later when Thomson picked up the puck behind the Durham net and shovelled the wraparound past an unsuspecting Burt, with McHaig and Deyell assisting.

The 4-1 lead looked safe as the 3rd period got underway, but Durham came roaring back in a big way.

Chris Brown, Kyler Nixon and Bill Terpstra all scored in the span of 2:11 early in the 3rd to make it a 4-4 game, much to the chagrin of a solid Christmas crowd at The Plex.

Johnston restored the lead at 11:29 of the 3rd, tipped a beautiful feed from Andy Fracz past Burt, with Blake Underwood also assisting.

Terpstra would even things up at 17:45 on a deflection, setting up the extra frame.

The Winterhawks controlled much of the overtime period, but could not find a way to beat Burt, sending the game to the dreaded shootout.

Flagler forced Nixon to shoot wide on the opening attempt, while Johnston beat Burt.

Flagler turned aside Cox in the 2nd round, while Burt was able to stop Underwood.

Brown was the last hope for Durham and he too was stopped by Flagler to give the Winterhawks the 6-5 win, their sixth-straight victory.

Thomson was named The Wismer House Player of the Game for his two-goal effort.

The win improves their record to 9-4-1 on the season, as the Winterhawks now face a big test tonight [Saturday] as they travel to the Davidson Centre in Kincardine to face the 1st-place Ripley Wolves at 5:00 p.m.