Saugeen Shores Winterhawks Head Coach Jim Grieve did not mince words following his team’s 5-4 loss to the Ripley Wolves on Dec. 29.
Grieve said the Winterhawks did not push hard enough for a team fighting for its playoff life, falling behind 4-0 and then 5-2 before a failed comeback in the dying minutes of the game.
A hero is needed, and it will have to come from within.
“I think that sort of thing starts in the dressing room, a couple of guys will have to stand up and take this team on their shoulders and show us the way,” said Grieve.
With five games remaining in the regular season, the Winterhawks need every point they can scrape together, as they continue to have a thin grasp on the 8th-and-final playoff spot in the league.
Sitting at 6-8-1, the Winterhawks are tied for 8th with the Huron East Centenaires, who have an identical record. The Winterhawks travel to Clinton on Friday, followed by home games against Elora (Jan. 12) and Lucknow (Jan. 19), then on the road to Shallow Lake (Jan. 20), wrapping up the regular season at home against Milverton (Jan. 27).
Huron East plays their next three games on the road, at Durham on Friday, at Clinton (Jan. 13), at Milverton (Jan. 19) before two at home to wrap up the regular season, hosting Petrolia (Jan. 20) and Shelburne (Jan. 27).
Shallow Lake currently holds 7th place with a 7-10-0 record, one point ahead of the Winterhawks and Huron East, with only three games to play. They host Durham in Lion’s Head on Jan. 6, followed by a return match in Durham on Jan. 19. They finish off their season with what will likely be a pivotal match-up with the Winterhawks on Jan. 20 in Shallow Lake.
Grieve says there needs to be a playoff-like urgency to every remaining game, something that hasn’t yet happened for a full 60 minutes.
“Right now, for whatever reason, there just isn’t the drive that’s needed for this time of year,” said Grieve.
The drive needs to show up in a hurry as the Winterhawks face the toughest test in the league on Friday night, as they travel to Clinton to face the undefeated Clinton Radars.
Grieve said the game between the Radars and Winterhawks on Dec. 15 was one of the better performances for his team all season, and hopes they rise to the occasion again.
“I thought by the 2nd period (vs Clinton), we had our game plan going and we played them the way we wanted to,” said Grieve. “I’m confident going into Clinton we’ll be able to give them a good game.”
Standings – 5th through 9th
|7. SHALLOW LAKE||17||7||10||0||14|
|8. SAUGEEN SHORES||15||6||8||1||13|
|9. HURON EAST||15||6||8||1||13|