Winterhawks win in Durham

Andy Mitchell scored twice and added an assist as the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks went into Durham and came away with a 5-1 win on Friday night.

The game opened with fast and physical hockey as it tends to be when the two rivals meet up, playing end-to-end hockey early on.

Blake Underwood opened the scoring for the Winterhawks at 7:37 of the 1st period, beating Durham netminder Scott Kuglin.

Curtis Johnston and Josh Hopkin picked up assists as the Winterhawks took the 1-0 lead.

The Winterhawks killed off two penalties late in the 1st period, as Jeff Flagler made 12 saves in the Winterhawks net in the opening frame, while Kuglin faced 14 shots.

Special teams told the tale in the 2nd period, as the Winterhawks failed to capitalize on two power plays in the first half of the period.

Greg Thede put the Winterhawks up 2-0 at 16:28, with assists to Bryan Kazarian and James McHaig.

It was then Durham’s opportunity on the power play, with Mitchell whistled for kneeing, followed by Kazarian for tripping to set up a short five-on-three advantage.

The Winterhawks killed off the penalty to Mitchell, who then struck shorthanded from McHaig and Connor Patton to give the Winterhawks a 3-0 lead after two periods of play.

Durham answered back 43-seconds into the 3rd period on a goal by Mitch Wright to cut the Winterhawks lead to 3-1.

The Winterhawks found themselves killing penalties at the midway point of the 3rd, but again, found offence in a defensive situation, as Andy Fracz scored shorthanded from Mitchell to make it 4-1.

Shortly after the goal, Durham found themselves on another five-on-three advantage, but Flagler and the Winterhawks penalty killers thwarted the Durham attack.

The Thundercats pulled Kuglin for an extra attacker with eight minutes remaining in the 3rd, but the gamble did not pay off, as Mitchell iced the win with an empty netter to make it a 5-1 win for the Winterhawks.

Flagler made 31 saves for the win in goal, as the Winterhawks improved their record to 10-1-0 on the season, taking sole possession of 1st place in the WOAA Sr. Hockey League, two points ahead of the Shelburne Muskies [9-1-0] and Ripley Wolves [9-0-0].

The Winterhawks have the rest of the weekend off, and will return to home ice on Friday night, December 6th, when they host the Minto 81’s at 8:30 p.m.