Flagler Perfect as Winterhawks Stay Alive

Jeff Flagler was perfect as the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks lived to fight another day.

Flagler made 32 saves for the shutout as the Winterhawks took a 4-0 victory in Game 5 of their WOAA Sr. “AA” quarterfinal series, staving off elimination.

The two teams were coming off a penalty-free affair in Game 4, but Game 5 was anything but.

The officials whistled nine minor penalties in the opening frame as both sides exchanged pleasantries, but neither team could find the twine and the score remained 0-0 after one.

The Winterhawks killed off an early penalty in the 2nd period and were able to grab some momentum coming out of the penalty kill.

A cycle down low between Jay Thomson and James McHaig generated an opportunity for Michael Johnstone, who was left alone in the slot.

Johnstone fired a quick wrist shot over the shoulder of Tillsonburg netminder Tommy Lee to give the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead at 6:20 of the 2nd.

Tillsonburg had a power play opportunity as Bryan Kazarian was ejected on a cross-checking major, but a Tillsonburg penalty nullified the advantage shortly afterwards.

The Winterhawks held the 1-0 advantage entering the 3rd period, where they pounced quickly.

Tillsonburg’s Brett Parsons was boxed on a kneeing penalty, which was immediately followed by a delay of game penalty when Lee fired the puck over the glass on a clearing attempt.

Despite an extended 5-on-3 advantage, the Winterhawks wasted no time, scoring 20-seconds into the two-man advantage, as Blake Underwood found Mike Rocca in the slot for a one-timer goal, with Theo Peckham also picking up the assist.

Andy Mitchell expanded the lead to 3-0 just over three minutes later blasting a feed from Connor Patton past Lee, with Lauchlin Elder also assisting.

Trent Hawke put it away late on a power play goal from Greg Thede to make it a 4-0 Winterhawks lead.

Flagler made several spectacular saves to preserve the shutout, picking up the Wismer House Player of the Game honours.

The win forces Game 6 in Tillsonburg tonight [Saturday] at 7:30 p.m., with the Winterhawks looking to force a Sunday afternoon Game 7 at The Plex.