The Saugeen Shores Winterhawks saw their winning streak end at 15 games as they couldn’t hold on to a 3rd period lead against the Mapleton-Minto 81’s.
The Winterhawks allowed three goals in the final seven minutes as a 5-2 lead evaporated, eventually losing 6-5 in a shootout.
Mapleton-Minto got on the board at 9:17 of the 1st period when Dylan Hoffman beat Winterhawks netminder Jeff Flagler to make it 1-0 for the home side.
Curtis Johnston would even things up late in the 1st period, connecting at 18:15 to make it 1-1, with Trevor Smith picking up the assist.
Johnston would give the Winterhawks the lead on the same shift, scoring with 17 seconds left in the period from Trent Hawke to make it 2-1 Winterhawks.
Blake Underwood would extend the Winterhawks lead to 4-2 at the 2:48 mark of the 2nd period, with Nick Quaid and Andy Mitchell assisting.
Mapleton-Minto’s John Lunney would cut the lead to 4-3 with a powerplay goal at 7:09, but Hawke responded with a powerplay marker of his own at 17:53, with Quaid and Bryan Kazarian assisting.
Andy Fracz made it 5-2 for the Winterhawks in the 3rd period before the game turned a little unconventional.
Mapleton-Minto had to win the game to hang on to any hope of surpassing the Winterhawks for 1st place in the league, so with 12-minutes to play and down by three goals, the 81’s opted to pull goaltender Jason Hamilton in favour of an extra attacker.
The move paid off as Justin Jacklin scored at 13:41, followed by Andrew Coburn at 17:25 to make it a one-goal game.
Brendon Haefling was whistled for a hook with 31 seconds left and with the goalie still on the bench, Lunney tied it up with eight seconds left, sending the game to overtime, tied 5-5.
Overtime solved nothing, despite a late powerplay for the Winterhawks, who couldn’t beat Hamilton.
Zach Graham would score for the 81’s in the shootout, and that’s all they would need as Underwood, Johnston and Alex Kuntz were all turned aside by Hamilton to make it a 6-5 final for Mapleton-Minto.
The shootout loss drops the Winterhawks to 15-1-1 on the season, five points up on Mapleton-Minto with three games left to play in the season.
The Winterhawks resume play tonight [Saturday] as they travel to Durham to face the Thundercats for an early start at 5:00 p.m.
Boxscore via Pointstreak.