Captain Trevor Smith scored with just over two minutes remaining in regulation to give the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks a 3-2 win over the rival Durham Thundercats on Friday night at The Plex.
In recognition of Remembrance Day, the Winterhawks welcomed the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 340 (Port Elgin) colour party to take part in a pregame ceremony to honour Canada's brave men & women who have put their lives on the line for our country.
The Winterhawks were fortunate to have Veteran Mike Hobson on hand as he dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff.
Once the action got underway for real, the two teams quickly got reacquainted after nearly three years without facing each other.
Eric Peicheff got the start in the Winterhawks net and he got off to a good start, stopping an early Durham breakaway to keep the Thundercats off the board.
Miles MacLean opened the scoring late in the first period when he jumped on a Durham defensive zone turnover and converted the backhander to make it a 1-0 Winterhaws lead. Matt Shields and Nick Quaid picked up the assists.
Durham evened things up with less than a minute left in the first as Riley O'Connell forced a turnover inside the Winterhawks blueline and got in alone on Peicheff to make it a 1-1 game after one.
Justin Donnelly put the Winterhawks back on top early in the second period, jumping on a loose puck in front of the Durham net and putting it behind Thundercats netminder Brendon Landry to put the home side up 2-1. Jordan Vanhaelemeesch and Andy Mitchell assisted on the goal.
Durham picked up a power play immediately after the goal and converted with the extra man on a thundering slapshot from Brandon Devlin to even the score at 2-2.
The Winterhawks got into penalty trouble late in the second period, but Peicheff and the penalty killers came up big and held Durham at bay to keep the score even at 2-2 heading to the third period.
The Winterhawks carried the play in the third period, including a power play opportunity, but couldn't solve Landry until late in the period.
With overtime looming, the Winterhawks kept the pressure in the Durham zone, and the puck came back to Smith at the point, who fired a shot through traffic and into the Durham net to make it a 3-2 Winterhawks lead with 2:18 left in the final frame.
Durham pulled the goalie for an extra attacker from there, but the Winterhawks defence was solid and held off the Thundercats without much of a threat to preserve the 3-2 victory for the home side.
Peicheff made 22 saves in the Winterhawks net as he recorded his second win of the season, while Smith was named the Wismer House Player of the Game for his game winning goal and usual steady play in the defensive zone.
The Winterhawks will be back in action at home next Sunday afternoon, November 20th, as they host the Minto 81's at The Plex for a 4:30 p.m. start.
Boxscore via Gamesheet Inc.