Miles MacLean broke a late tie to open the floodgates as the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks defeated the Ripley Wolves 5-2 at The Plex on Friday night.
The night was notable for the return of Winterhawks all-time leading scorer Brent MacDermid, who returned to the lineup after re-signing with the club earlier in the week.
MacDermid had an early look in his return, but was turned away by Ripley netminder Jason Hamilton.
The Winterhawks carried the pace early, striking first when Luke Pither picked up the puck in the Ripley zone and danced his way through the Wolves defenders and beat Hamilton up high to make it a 1-0 Winterhawks lead.
Andy Mitchell followed up with his own highlight reel goal, taking a pass from Matt Shields at the Ripley blueline and beating the Wolves defender on a nifty move, also beating Hamilton up top to give the Winterhawks an early 2-0 lead.
The Winterhawks killed off a Ripley power play late in the period with some help from Winterhawks goaltender Jeff Flagler, who made several point-blank saves to keep the score 2-0 after one period of play.
The ice tilted decidedly in Ripley's favour in the second period, but the Winterhawks killed off an early Wolves power play, and then a two-man advantage to keep the Wolves off the board.
Ripley continued to put pressure on the Winterhawks and it paid off late in the period, as the Wolves cut the Winterhawks lead to 2-1 after two periods.
The Wolves picked up another power play early in the 3rd period and the Winterhawks were able to kill it off, but shortly after, Ripley's Pat Looby tied it up on a blast to make it a 3-3 game.
The Winterhawks didn't back down and picked up the pace as the 3rd period wore on, and were able to capitalize on their momentum.
Mike Fiegehen used his big body to win a battle along the boards inside the Ripley zone to create a two-on-one, and he fed a beautiful pass to MacLean, who hammered a one-timer past Hamilton to bring the big crowd at The Plex to their feet, restoring the Winterhawks lead at 3-2.
The Winterhawks kept applying the pressure and it paid off as MacLean got loose on a partial breakaway in the final minutes of the 3rd, and the Wolves were forced to haul him down and take a penalty.
Josh Deyell picked up his first of the season on the power play with 25-seconds left to make it a 4-2 lead, then Mitchell scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway with 8-seconds left to make it a 5-2 final for the Winterhawks.
MacLean was named The Wismer House Player of the Game for his game winning goal, along with an assist for a two-point game.
The Winterhawks are back in action on Saturday night as part of a three-game weekend as they take on the Shelburne Muskies on the road at 8:00 p.m.
They will be back home for Minor Hockey Night on Sunday against the Minto 81's. The team that shows the most team spirit will win a practice with Winterhawks players.
The Winterhawks and Shelburne Muskies have rescheduled their game that was postponed due to the pre-Christmas blizzard. Due to a lack of available ice time in Saugeen Shores, the game will be played on Sunday January 29, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound.
It is a Winterhawks home game, so all season passes and game passes will be valid for entry.