Miles MacLean scored a hat-trick as the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks skated past the Minto 81’s by a score of 5-2 on Sunday afternoon at The Plex.
MacLean got things going in style early in the 1st period, sneaking a low shot off the rush under the pad of Minto netminder Marc Williams to make it 1-0 at 1:55.
The Winterhawks continued the pressure as James McHaig fed a pass to Michael Johnstone in the slot, who one-timed it past Williams to make it 2-0, with Jay Thomson also assisting at 3:46.
Williams settled in for Minto, turning aside a pair of Winterhawks powerplays, while Jeff Flagler was solid, keeping Minto off the board in the 1st period.
The 81’s got on the board early in the 2nd, as two Winterhawks defenders collided on a play, allowing Adam Kalawec to get in alone, beating Flagler to cut the Winterhawks lead to 2-1.
The 81’s took a too-many-men bench minor at the mid-way point of the 2nd, and the Winterhawks were quick to capitalize on the advantage.
Trent Hawke fed the puck back to the point, with Josh Deyell putting a shot wide of the net, but MacLean played it perfectly off the back boards, shovelling the puck past Williams to restore the Winterhawks two-goal lead.
The Winterhawks killed off a pair of penalties, but Minto got back to within one late in the period, as Brody LeMay took a snap shot that re-directed past Flagler to make it a 3-2 game after two periods.
Newly-signed Chad Schockenmaier picked up his first point as a Winterhawk at 3:41 of the 3rd, fighting off a Minto defender behind the net, feeding a pass out front, where Matt Shields buried it past Williams to make it a 4-2 game.
The Winterhawks penalty killers again came up big, killing off a Minto penalty in the 3rd with the 81’s unable to gain the Winterhawks zone.
The 81’s pulled the goalie with about four minutes left as they needed two goals to tie, and Bryan Kazarian stole the puck at the Winterhawks blue line and fed it up to MacLean, who outwaited the 81’s defenders and fired the puck into the open net.
Flagler was called upon to make another big save as the Winterhawks finished it off for a 5-2 win, their fifth-straight victory.
The Winterhawks record improves to 8-4-1 on the season and are now tied with the 81’s for 4th overall in the WOAA Sr. Hockey League.
After a weekend off, the Winterhawks will renew their rivalry with the Durham Thundercats on Friday December 21st, with an 8:30 p.m. start time at The Plex.