It took only 33 seconds for Adam Little to send the fans home happy on Friday night at The Plex.
Little scored the overtime winner on the power play to give the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks a 3-2 win over the Minto 81’s in Game 2 of their WOAA Sr. “AA” quarterfinal series.
It started out on a less exciting note, as the game was delayed by more than half an hour due to the blustery weather outside creating travel issues for the 81’s.
It carried over to the start of the game, which saw both teams struggle early on to get the legs going.
Bryan Kazarian got the offence going at 15:54 when he pounced on a turnover at the 81’s blue line, feeding the puck over to Trent Hawke, who fired the puck just inside the far post, past Minto netminder Ben Nelson.
That was it for the scoring in the opening frame, as Winterhawks starter Jeff Flagler held Minto off the score-sheet.
The 81’s were able to get on the board at 7:35 of the 2nd, as Denver Hill beat Flagler with a backhander to tie the game, 1-1.
Penalty trouble ended up costing the Winterhawks, who found themselves down on a 5-on-3 just past the halfway mark of the 2nd.
Brady Anderson struck with a wrist shot for Minto to make it a 2-1 lead for the 81’s about 40 seconds into the two-man advantage.
The Winterhawks answered back, as Jay Thomson skated the puck into the 81’s zone and made a good move to get in behind the 81’s defender.
Thomson worked the puck back to Mike Smailes at the point, and his low shot was re-directed past Nelson by Lauchlin Elder at 15:55 of the 2nd to knot the game at 2-2.
The Winterhawks poured it on in the 3rd period, but could not find a way to beat Nelson, as the Winterhawks outshot Minto 11-3 to end regulation.
Flagler was not busy in the 3rd, but came up huge on a breakaway opportunity.
Overtime didn’t last long, as Minto’s Tommy Hoogaars was whistled for slashing at 27-seconds into the extra frame, setting the stage for Little’s winner.
Kazarian won the draw to Andy Fracz, who fed it over to Little and his low point shot went through a crowd and past Nelson, who never saw it.
The Winterhawks now lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, and will travel to Palmerston on Sunday afternoon for Game 3, with a 2:00 p.m. puck drop.
JOHNSTONE HONOURED: Prior to the game, WOAA President Al Dickson presented Winterhawks forward Michael Johnstone with the 2018/19 Hugh Hodges Memorial Trophy.
The award is presented each season to recognize sportsmanship, perseverance and dedication, as Johnstone battled back after missing the entire 2017/18 season following a bone cancer diagnosis.