The Tavistock Royals struck on the powerplay with 3:43 left to take Game 1 over the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks.
The tone was set right off the bat as the two teams exchanged hits and tried to take a physical edge over the other.
The aggressive play immediate brought about power plays, as the Winterhawks had two opportunities with the man advantage right off the bat, but couldn't get to Tavistock netminder Zach Shomphe.
Tavistock had their chances on the power play late in the period, with Winterhawks captain Trevor Smith getting whistled for a double-minor. The penalty killers did their job, but Tavistock headed right back to the power play, but again, the PK came up big.
After a scoreless first period, the parade to the penalty box continued as Smith was sent off again just over a minute into the second.
A Tavistock penalty negated the advantage a minute later, but the Winterhawks couldn't convert on the shortened power play.
Tavistock went back to the power play minutes later, but again, the penalty killers sacrificed as they blocked shots and Jeff Flagler came up big in the Winterhawks net as Tavistock went to five-on-three advantage.
With a rare stretch of five-on-five hockey, the Winterhawks got some momentum going, jumping on a Tavistock turnover as Mike Fiegehen got the puck in front to Logan Freiburger, who tucked the puck past Shomphe to make it a 1-0 Winterhawks lead.
However, the good feelings were shortlived, as Tavistock headed back to the power play again just 19 seconds after the goal.
This time, the Royals converted on a shot from Sean Kienapple to knot the game at 1-1.
The Winterhawks had an opportunity on the power play right after the goal, but couldn't come up with the go-ahead goal until things returned to five-on-five.
A loose puck in the slot came to Josh Hopkin at 18:09 of the second, beating Shomphe to make it 2-1 Winterhawks, with assists to Fiegehen and Justin Donnelly.
Tavistock answered back as soon as the puck dropped in the third period, scoring off the rush 32-seconds in to make it a 2-2 game.
The penalty trouble followed in the third, as the Royals had two more power play opportunities early in the period, but the Winterhawks penalty killers again shut the door.
A Winterhawks power play came up empty midway through the period, and Tavistock found themselves on the power play for the ninth time in the game late in the 3rd and got the winner on a goal by Luke MacMillan.
The Winterhawks still managed to outshoot Tavistock 31-25, despite spending a third of the game on the penalty kill.
Tavistock leads the best-of-seven series 1-0, with Game 2 set to go on Saturday night in Tavistock. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Boxscore via Gamesheet