The Saugeen Shores Winterhawks impressive start to the WOAA Sr. Hockey League season hit a bump on Friday night at The Plex.
The Winterhawks were handed their first loss of the season at the hands of the Shelburne Muskies, falling by a 3-1 score.
The game got off to an inauspicious start, with the Winterhawks getting into severe penalty trouble within minutes of the puck dropping.
Trevor Smith and Theo Peckham picked up minor penalties seconds apart, putting the Muskies on a five-on-three advantage.
While still killing the two-man advantage, Andy Mitchell got tangled up with a Shelburne player and was ejected for checking from behind, extending the Shelburne five-on-three.
The penalty killers were full marks, though, minimizing the Muskies chances, killing off all three penalties.
The momentum didn’t materialize for the Winterhawks, and the Muskies jumped in front moments later, as Jamie Bennett was hooked on a breakaway, resulting in a penalty shot.
The Shelburne forward beat Winterhawks netminder Jeff Flagler on the penalty shot to give the Muskies a 1-0 lead.
Shelburne’s Ty McCallum followed it up 20 seconds later, scoring on a two-on-one to make it 2-0 for Shelburne.
The Winterhawks managed to get one back on the power play late in the 1st period, with Brent MacDermid sending a feed from behind the net out front to Blake Underwood, who one-timed the puck past Shelburne goalie Ed Davey, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
The 2nd period didn’t start well for the Winterhawks, as Shelburne restored the two-goal lead following a scramble in front, with Josh Sguigna making it 3-1 for the visitors.
A late power play did not yield results for Saugeen Shores and Shelburne held on to a 3-1 lead heading to the 3rd period.
The Winterhawks struggled to generate quality chances in the 3rd period, as Shelburne’s defensive game stymied the Saugeen Shores attack.
“When you’re down two, it’s tough, and then you start squeezing the stick a little bit and they were right on us every time we got the puck,” said Winterhawks Head Coach Matt Turcotte. “Shelburne played good, they were right on us.”
With Flagler on the bench for an extra attacker late in the game, the Winterhawks pushed again to make it interesting, but Davey turned aside every chance.
“Our lucky streak ran out, we had a couple games this year that we won that we should’ve lost, so we’ll take this one and learn from it and try again next weekend,” said Turcotte.
The first loss of the season drops the Winterhawks to 7-1-0, two points behind the Muskies for first place in the WOAA Sr. Hockey League.
The Winterhawks will be back on the ice for a pair of games next weekend, first a road game on Saturday night, November 23rd, when they travel to Palmerston to face the Minto 81’s.
They will be back home for a Sunday afternoon matinee, hosting the Shallow Lake Crushers on November 24th at 4:00 p.m. at The Plex, with a Grey Cup party planned for the Hawks Nest after the game.