The one that got away from the Winterhawks

The Saugeen Shores Winterhawks got up big early against the Creemore Coyotes, but let it slip away.The Winterhawks came flying out of the gate, taking a 4-0 lead within 16 minutes of the start of Game 3, but it all came crashing down, dropping a 6-4 decision at The Plex on Friday night.The Hawks opened the scoring just shy of seven minutes into the game on the power play, when Trent Hawke found Miles MacLean as headed to the net, and he put it top shelf on Creemore starter Lucas Laciak to make it 1-0. Luke Pither also assisted on the goal.Pither added to the lead just under two minutes later when he got the puck in the middle of the ice and walked right in and sniped a shot over Laciak to make it 2-0, from Medric Mercier and Justin Donnelly.The early onslaught continued when Captain Trevor Smith fired a point shot through a crowd to make it 3-0 at 9:48 of the first. Josh Deyell and Dan Zweep assisted, chasing Laciak from the Creemore net in favour of Mason Kameka.Zweep made it 4-0 at 15:51 after a Creemore defender knocked the puck down at centre ice, but subsequently got it lost in his feet.Zweep knocked it past him and was in alone on a breakaway, making no mistake, with assists to Smith and Josh Hopkin.It felt like the Winterhawks were well on their way to taking a commanding series lead, but things went off the rails in pretty short order.A holding penalty late in the period put Creemore on the power play, and they converted immediately, winning the faceoff clean back to the point, and the shot got past Jeff Flagler to put Creemore on the board at 4-1.Just over a minute later, Ben Hughes made it a 4-2 game, which is where things stood at the end of the first period.Creemore picked up on their newly-found momentum and came out flying in the second period, making it a one-goal game just before the five-minute mark of the second when Hughes scored his second of the night.The Winterhawks picked up a power play midway through the second period, but a bad pass in the skates, followed by more misplay of the puck gave Creemore’s Nick Sammons a chance in alone, and he tied the game on a shorthanded goal.The snowball effect continued and Creemore went ahead 5-4 at 15:05 of the second to give the Coyotes a one-goal lead.A Winterhawks power play turned into a 4-on-4 situation when a post-whistle scrum in the Creemore zone drew a Winterhawks penalty, moving the faceoff into the Winterhawks zone.Once again, Creemore won the draw cleanly and the point shot beat Flagler to make it a 5-4 Creemore game.The Winterhawks pressed late in the second period and appeared to tie the game right as the buzzer sounded to end the period.The referee on the goal line ruled the play a goal, but the officials got together to discuss the play, and reversed the decision, keeping the score 5-4 Creemore after 40 minutes.The Winterhawks spent the first half of the third period killing penalties, and while controlling the play, struggled to generate dangerous chances once they were deep in the Creemore zone.With the goalie out and one last chance to tie the game, Hughes completed the hat-trick with an 180-foot shot from the Creemore zone into the empty net to make it a 6-4 final.The Winterhawks still lead the best-of-seven series 2-1, but are now guaranteed to play three games this weekend.Game 4 will be tomorrow night, Saturday, in Creemore at 7:30 p.m., followed by Game 5 on Sunday evening in Shelburne at 5:30 p.m.