Winterhawks Battle to Bitter End

True to form, the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks left it all on the ice as they tried to stave off elimination against the Clinton Radars on Saturday night at The Plex.

As had been the trend throughout the WOAA Sr. “AA” semi-final series, it was a goaltending battle in Game 6, as the Winterhawks Jeff Flagler and Clinton’s Drew Reinhardt went save-for-save all night long.

Clinton picked up the first power play of the night at 9:36 of the 1st period, but the Winterhawks penalty killers were able to hold off the Radars.

The Winterhawks had their own power play at 12:52 of the 1st, but couldn’t beat Reinhardt.

The 2nd period continued the trend, as the two teams exchanged chances, but the goaltenders were having none of it, as they frustrated shooters on both sides.

Finally in the 3rd period, the dam broke and Clinton got on the board.

Clinton’s Tyler Doig put a backhander toward the Winterhawks net, which was blocked, but the puck dropped to Derek Elliott, who was able to sweep the puck around Flagler at 2:12 to make it 1-0 Clinton.

With Miles MacLean in the penalty box minutes later, the Winterhawks penalty killers went about their business.

Jay Thomson broke up the Clinton cycle and chipped the puck down the ice, where James McHaig ragged the puck behind the Clinton net.

McHaig moved the puck back to the point to Justin Ainslie, who let a slap shot go.

The puck deflected off a Clinton defender in front and past Reinhardt for a shorthanded goal, tying the game and sending the crowd at The Plex into a frenzy.

The euphoria was short-lived, however, as Clinton went back to work on the power play and it was Zach Graham who put a shot on goal that just squeaked through Flagler and into the net with just two-seconds left in the penalty.

Flagler was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker as the clock ticked down, and Clinton scored the empty netter to make it a 3-1 final, giving the series to the Radars in six games.

The Winterhawks organization thanks the fans and sponsors who made it possible to once again take the ice this winter, your support is truly appreciated.

A big thank you to Coach Matt Turcotte and his staff for their hard work and dedication, especially the work behind the scenes that often goes unnoticed, but definitely not unappreciated.

We cannot put a high calibre product on the ice without the group of players we are proud to call Winterhawks.

The guys battled all season long, against all odds, battling until the final buzzer sounds. They give up every weekend to entertain us and we are truly appreciative of their talent and dedication.

There is undoubtedly change coming to our league, but we will be back next season, looking to build on a successful campaign, aiming to regain our spot as champions.

We will host our annual awards banquet, likely in early May, but we will post details once everything as been finalized.

Thank you again for a successful season, have a safe summer and we’ll see you in October.