What started out promising for the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks quickly unravelled as they fell 5-2 to the Clinton Radars in Game 4 of their semi-final series.
Clinton scored four unanswered goals in front of a boisterous home crowd to tie the best-of-seven series at 2-2.
Clinton’s Matt Salituro opened the scoring on a strange goal just shy of the five-minute mark of the 1st period, as the puck bounced off Winterhawks goaltender Jeff Flagler, off his defenceman and eventually found its way into the net.
Brendon Haefling answered back for the Winterhawks just over five minutes later, banging in a puck in the slot, with assists to Andy Mitchell and Trevor Smith.James McHaig would give the Winterhawks the lead at 15:53 of the 1st, backhanding the puck past Radars netminder Marc Nother for a 2-1 Winterhawks lead after one period.
The Winterhawks would get a powerplay early in the 2nd period, as Brendan Dale of Clinton was tossed for a check from behind, but the Radars Sean Consitt stole the puck and buried a big slap shot to tie the game at 2-2.
The Radars pushed hard in the 2nd period and the Winterhawks ended up taking a pair of penalties in short order, putting Clinton on a five-on-three advantage.
Just as the first penalty was ending, Luke Vick put a rebound past Flagler to put Clinton on top, 3-2.
Clinton would pour it on throughout the rest of the 2nd period, but only Flagler was able to contain the Radars.The Winterhawks found themselves on an extended power play as Ryan Murphy took a double-minor, followed by Tyler Bryson being ejected for an attempt-to-injure match penalty after a slew foot on Jeff MacDermid.
Despite the manpower advantage, the ‘Hawks struggled to generate chances against the aggressive Clinton penalty killers.
The Winterhawks pressed for the equalizer in the 3rd period, but couldn’t find a way to beat Nother.
Clinton put an insurance marker on the board at 12:04 of the 3rd when Vick found Consitt in front of the net, who redirected the puck past a helpless Flagler.
Clinton added another one on the powerplay late to make it a 5-2 final for the Radars, who outshot the Winterhawks 42-33.
The series continues with Game 5 on Friday March 10th in Port Elgin at 8:30 p.m.