It’s the tallest test of them all as the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks look to build on newly-found momentum.
Fresh off a 5-1 win over the Shelburne Muskies on Dec. 8, the Winterhawks will now face the reigning champion Clinton Radars, who are a perfect 11-0-0 on the season.
The Winterhawks were full marks in the victory over the Muskies, outshooting the visitors 50-30.
“It was a huge win, a good game for us, we probably should’ve beaten them [in Shelburne], but we didn’t,” said Assistant Coach Barry Hall. “We played three solid periods, guys took care of our end and that was the difference.”
The win was best remembered for the 29-save performance by goaltender Richard Harris, who made his first start in the Winterhawks net since the inaugural season in 2007/08.
Harris is the coach of the Saugeen Shores Storm Peewee A/E, and was surprised to see his son Lucas lead the Bruce Telecom flag bearers as the Winterhawks waited to come out onto the ice.
He admitted it was an emotional moment as he realized the entire team had come out as a tribute to their coach.
“I may have welled up there a little bit, I left my mask on a little longer than normal at the start there,” said Harris. “It was awesome.”
- You can listen to Harris’ post-game comments here:
The Winterhawks will need every bit of momentum as they face the Radars, who have run roughshod over the entire WOAA Sr. Hockey League this season.
The Radars have scored no fewer than four goals in each of their 11 wins this season, including a 7-4 win over Petrolia and a 10-4 win over Milverton last weekend.
The Winterhawks are banking on having their swagger back against Clinton.
“The guys have some confidence back, we did a good job clearing out the front of our net and we got in front of their goalie,” said Hall. “If you can’t see ’em, you can’t stop ’em.”
Still, it will take nothing short of their best effort of the season to upset the Radars, who are ranked number one in the league in goals-for per game (7.18), goals against average (2.09) and penalty killing (95.9% success rate).
The Winterawks shooters are heating up, as well, as forward Miles MacLean added another two points against the Muskies to up his total to nine points (4G, 5A) in six games as a Winterhawk.
Veteran Bryan Kazarian is shaking off a slow start, putting up five points (3G, 2A) in his last four games.
Rookie Connor Patton has a three-game point streak, and eight points in 11 games overall in his first season of senior hockey.
The Winterhawks host the Clinton Radars at 8:30 p.m. on Friday night.
You can view highlights of the 5-1 win over Shelburne below: