The Saugeen Shores Winterhawks are back atop the WOAA Sr. Hockey League standings after winning twice over the weekend.
Curtis Johnston had three points, including a milestone point as the Winterhawks defeated the Minto 81’s on Saturday night in Palmerston.
Connor Patton opened the scoring at 5:14 of the 1st period, with assists to Lauchlin Elder and Josh Hopkin, putting the Winterhawks up 1-0 early on.
Trent Hawke scored his first of two goals on the night just over two minutes later, with assists to Blake Underwood and Johnston, who recorded his 250th career point on the goal.
Minto got one back as Tyler Harrison beat Winterhawks starter Jeff Flagler with 42-seconds left in the period, but James McHaig answered right back before the buzzer, extending the lead to 3-1 with eight seconds left.
Brent MacDermid picked up an assist on the goal as the Winterhawks took a two-goal lead to the dressing room.
Hawke managed to extend the lead to 4-1 with his second goal of the night at 7:34 of the 2nd, with assists to Johnston and Michael Johnstone.
That score held up as the 3rd period began, and Minto managed to climb back into the game with a goal at 12:29 of the 3rd on a goal by Jamison Buck.
Johnston finished off the scoring to make it a three-point night [1 goal, 2 assists] for the veteran forward as the Winterhawks took a 5-2 win over Minto.
Lauchlin Elder scored with seven minutes remaining in the 3rd period to give the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks a narrow win over the Shallow Lake Crushers on Sunday afternoon at The Plex.
Early on, it looked as if the Winterhawks would coast to victory over the winless Crushers, as Captain Trevor Smith opened the scoring off the rush at 3:29 of the 1st, with assists to Blake Underwood & Curtis Johnston.
Just over a minute later, Mike Rocca was sprung in alone on a breakaway against his former team.
Crushers netminder Allan Manary made the initial save, but Rocca buried the the rebound to give the Winterhawks a 2-0 lead, with assists to Matt Shields and Trent Hawke.
The Winterhawks continued to pepper Manary with shots, but the Crushers netminder settled in and kept the door shut until 14:43, when Underwood had a tap-in goal at the side of the net to make it a 3-0 game, with assists to Johnston and Hawke.
The Winterhawks held on to the 3-0 lead until early in the 2nd period, when the Crushers found some momentum.
A Saugeen Shores power play went sideways as a neutral zone turnover lead to Crushers forward Drew Quinlan picking up a breakaway, and he beat Winterhawks starter Eric Peicheff to cut the Winterhawks lead to 3-1.
The Winterhawks continued the onslaught against Manary, but posts and crossbars kept the Winterhawks from expanding the lead.
The Crushers crept closer as Daniel Zweep pounced on a scramble in front and beat Peicheff at 8:13 to cut the lead again to 3-2.
Hawke finally got to Manary at 11:29 of the 2nd, taking a feed in the slot and firing the puck top shelf to give the Winterhawks a 4-2 lead, with assists to Johnston and Underwood.
The Crushers again would not go down without a fight, as Mackenzie Fleming beat Peicheff on the power play at 18:03 of the 2nd to get Shallow Lake within one.
Despite outshooting Shallow Lake 21-9 in the 2nd, it was a one goal game as the 3rd period began.
Shallow Lake continued to pressure the Winterhawks early in the 3rd period and a misplay in the neutral zone gave the Crushers an odd-man rush and Jesse Bedard buried the puck to tie the game 4-4 at 4:30 of the 3rd period.
The dam finally burst on Manary as Elder scored the winner from the boards at 12:43 of the 3rd, sneaking one through to make it 5-4, with assists to Josh Hopkin & Bryan Kazarian.
Shallow Lake pulled the goalie for the extra attacker, but couldn’t generate a quality chance, with James McHaig scoring into the empty net with seven seconds remaining to secure the 6-4 win for the Winterhawks.
Despite outshooting Shallow Lake 48-24, Head Coach Matt Turcotte wasn’t impressed with the effort.
“We had no passion, in order to win, you have to block shots, you have to hit people,” said Turcotte. “A hundred years of hockey, that’s how it’s done.”
The wins propel the Winterhawks to a 9-1-0 record and a tie for 1st place in the WOAA Sr. Hockey League standings with the Shelburne Muskies.
The Winterhawks return to the ice for a road game next weekend, travelling to Durham to face the rival Thundercats on Friday night, November 29th.