The Seaforth Centenaires scored three times on the power play to hand the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks a 3-2 loss at The Plex on Friday night.
In what was a potential preview of a first round playoff match-up, the two teams set a physical tone early on, with hard hits and plenty of extra curricular activities after the whistle.
The physical play lead to a steady parade to the penalty box and power play opportunities on both sides.
Jeff Flagler was tested early on in the Winterhawks net, turning aside the Seaforth shooters with ease.
Similarly, Seaforth starter Alex Hutcheson was called on to make several spectacular saves to keep the game scoreless.
The physical play boiled over late in the period, a relative rarity in today’s game took place, as the Hawks Mike Rocca and Seaforth’s Braydon Blight-Royal dropped the gloves and went toe-to-toe in a spirited fight.
The score remained at zeroes until nearly five minutes into the 2nd period when Blake Underwood jumped on a loose puck in the slot and fired it past Hutcheson to make it 1-0 Winterhawks.
Miles MacLean and Trevor Smith picked up assists on the goal.
The Winterhawks got themselves into penalty trouble in a bad way just past the midway point of the period.
Smith was whistled for a head check and just over a minute later, Michael Johnstone was called for holding.
In the midst of attempting to kill off the 5-on-3 disadvantage, a delayed penalty was indicated by the referee on the Hawks Brenden Welsh and Seaforth knotted the score at 1-1 before the Hawks could regain control of the puck.
The end result was a tie game and an extended 5-on-3 for Seaforth, who then took the lead 1:05 later on a big one-timer from the point.
As the game moved into the 3rd period, the Winterhawks tried to get some momentum going, but Hutcheson stymied the ‘Hawks at every turn.
Again, penalties reared their ugly head, as James McHaig was whistled for boarding, despite protesting to the official that the Seaforth player turned his back at the last second.
Nonetheless, Seaforth struck again on the power play to extend their lead to 3-1 at 12:39 of the 3rd.
The Winterhawks battled to get back in it, as they pulled Flagler for the extra attacker and immediately drew to within one as MacLean stepped in to the Seaforth zone and blasted a slapshot past Hutcheson to make it a 3-2 game with 1:10 remaining.
Try as they might, Hutcheson shut the door the rest of the way to give Seaforth a 3-2 victory.
Underwood was named the Wismer House Player of the Game with one goal and one assist.
The loss drops the Winterhawks to 14-4-0 on the season, currently sitting in 4th place, but still just two points back of a three-way tie for 1st place.
The Winerhawks will be back in action for the final home game of the regular season next Friday night, January 24th, when they host the Lucknow Lancers at 8:30 p.m. at The Plex.
RESCHEDULED: The game between the Winterhawks and Shelburne Muskies that was postponed due to weather last weekend has been rescheduled for Friday, January 31st at 8:45pm in Shelburne.