The Saugeen Shores Winterhawks nearly let one slip away Friday night but they held on for a 5-4 win over the Clinton Radars and now lead the semi-final series 2-1.
The Hawks had a comfortable 5-1 lead late in the second but had a tough time closing the door as the Radars scored three unanswered goals making for a tense third period.
Prior to the game, the Winterhawks goaltenders were presented the trophy for the Best Goals Against Average with a record setting mark of 2.10 during the 2016/17 regular season.
Goaltenders Jeff Flagler, Blake Sinclair, Richard Harris and Matt Tutin shared the award which is the lowest Goal Against Average in the award’s 24 year history.
The two teams traded power play goals in the first with Clinton’s Deryk Whitehead opening the scoring late in the first. Brent MacDermid responded with 11 seconds remaining in the period to tie the game.
The Winterhawks exploded with four unanswered goals in the second with Jeff MacDermid connecting with Alex Kuntz and Brent MacDermid followed by Curtis Johnston’s first of two goals midway through the period.
Andy Mitchell stripped a defender of the puck at the blueline and broke in alone to beat Clinton goalie Marc Nother to make it 4-1. Johnston scored again 30 seconds later to widen the margin to 5-1.
Ryan Murphy notched a power play goal late in the second to make it 5-3 and carried the momentum into the third with goals from Whitehead and Luke Vick.
The Radars pulled their goalie late in the third but the man advantage was nullified when Vick was penalized for goaltender interference after running over Hawks goalie Jeff Flagler.
The series resumes Saturday night in Clinton with Game 5 at the Plex in Saugeen Shores Friday March 10 at 8:30 p.m.