The regular season is winding down and the Winterhawks are right in the thick of a dogfight for playoff positioning.
The eight teams that will vie for the WOAA Sr. "AA" championship have been determined, but where they will be in the seeding entering the playoffs remains anybody's guess.
The Saugeen Shores Winterhawks clinched their playoff spot during their three-win weekend, joining Seaforth, Minto, Ripley, Durham, Tavistock, Creemore and Petrolia, who have also clinched their playoff spots.
The Winterhawks have five games remaining and three of them will be home games, even though the three home games will be played at different venues.
The 'Hawks are home this Friday for the last game at The Plex until the playoffs, hosting the Shallow Lake Crushers at 8:30 p.m.
They'll hit the road on Saturday evening to pay a visit to longtime rivals Durham Thundercats, who are hosting their 50th anniversary celebrations that evening.
The Winterhawks then invade the Southampton Coliseum on Friday January 20th against Lucknow, followed by a road game the following weekend in Ripley before finishing up the regular season on Sunday January 29th at 6:00 p.m. at the Bayshore in Owen Sound against the Shelburne Muskies.
Every point is critical at this point in the season, as the Winterhawks enter Friday's game in a four-way tie for 4th place in the WOAA standings at 21 points, deadlocked with Durham, Tavistock and Creemore.
The Winterhawks hold two games in hand on Durham and Creemore, and one game in hand on Tavistock.
They're also just one point back of 3rd-place Ripley with a game in hand, and three points back of Minto with a game in hand. Minto hosts Ripley this Friday night in a game with major implications for the Winterhawks.
Seaforth is comfortably in first place at 30 points, while Petrolia is lurking in 8th place at 18 points and still very much in the picture to move up.
Click here for full standings
Playoff Roster Set
As required by the Senior Hockey Manual of Operations, the Winterhawks set their 26-player playoff roster on January 10th.
The playoff roster
is comprised of the following players:
#30 Clayton Fritsch, #33 Eric Peicheff, #34 Jeff Flagler
#4 Brock Pinnell, #10 Josh Deyell, #11 Kevin McCallion, #19 Nick Quaid, #24 Trevor Smith, #29 Josh Hopkin, #44 Chad Jones, #58 Médric Mercier
Forwards: #8 Justin Donnelly, #9 Logan Freiburger, #12 Jay Thomson, #13 Miles MacLean, #14 James McHaig, #16 Andy Mitchell, #17 Andy Fracz, #18 Mike Johnstone, #28 Curtis Johnston, #37 Lauchlin Elder, #81 Jordan Vanhaelemeesch, #88 Matt Shields, #89 Luke Pither, #91 Trent Hawke, #97 Mike Fiegehen
Subsequently, the team has released Brent MacDermid, Jamie Shoemaker, Mitch Borden, Bill Monkman and Matt Tutin. We thank those players for their tremendous commitment and dedication over the years and wish them nothing but the best.