Bad period sinks Winterhawks

The Durham Thundercats struck three times in the 2nd period as they upended the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks 4-3 at The Plex on Friday night.

Durham jumped out in front early on a power play goal by Kyler Nixon at 7:15 to give the Thundercats a 1-0 lead.

Andy Fracz answered back at 11:42, as he backhanded a puck through a maze of bodies on the ice, past Durham netminder Gatlin Burt to tie things up at 1-1.

The 2nd period would be the Winterhawks undoing, though, as sloppy play cost them three times.

The Winterhawks would pick up a power play early on when Nixon was whistled for holding, but a turnover just inside the Durham blue line sent Randy Cox away the other way, and he converted the breakaway for a shorthanded goal.

Minutes later, Durham defenceman Jeff MacMillan was handed a double-minor for high sticking, but the Winterhawks struggled to generate any chances during the four-minute advantage.

Durham would go up two goals when goaltender Jeff Flagler made a huge save on Kevin Tremble of Durham, but the rebound went to Jim Hutchinson, who had Flagler at his mercy, and converted to make it a 3-1 game.

The power play finally converted for the Winterhawks at 14:13 of the 2nd when captain Greg Thede sent a low shot through traffic and past Burt to cut the Durham lead to 3-2.

Durham’s power play again converted late in the period, when the Thundercats moved the puck around, eventually converting on a one-timer from Cox at the side of the net to make it 4-2 Thundercats after two.

The Winterhawks showed up in the 3rd period, pressing hard to get back in the game.

They had some luck on their side to get to within one, as a Durham defender shot the puck around the glass in an attempt to clear the zone, however, the puck struck a stanchion and deflected right into the slot onto the stick of Andy Mitchell, who snapped the puck past an unsuspecting Burt to make it a 4-3 game with 7:11 left in regulation.

With Flagler on the bench for the extra attacker, the Winterhawks pressed for the equalizer in the dying seconds, but Durham held them off, helped by Burt high-sticking Winterhawks veteran Bryan Kazarian in the face, which went undetected by the referee.

Fracz was named The Wismer House Player of the Game, picking up a goal and an assist on the night.

The Winterhawks will be back in action after Christmas, hosting Bruce County rival Ripley Wolves on Friday, December 29th at 8:30 p.m. at The Plex.

The Saugeen Shores Winterhawks organization wishes you and yours a Merry Christmas and all the best of the season.

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