Playoffs Begin Friday, News (Saugeen Shores Winterhawks)

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Jan 31, 2023 | Winterhawks News | 720 views
Playoffs Begin Friday
The Saugeen Shores Winterhawks open the 2023 Sr. "AA" Playoffs this Friday against the Creemore Coyotes.

The quarterfinal series features two teams with limited history between them, the Coyotes entered the league in 2021/22 and are making their first appearance on the Sr. "AA" side of the playoffs.

With the curling stones put away, the Winterhawks return to The Plex in Port Elgin to begin the playoffs, Game 1 going this Friday night, February 3rd, at 8:30 p.m.

The full series schedule is as follows:

Game 1 Friday February 3rd 8:30pm The Plex
Game 2 Saturday February 4th 7:30pm Creemore
Game 3 Friday February 10th 8:30pm The Plex
Game 4 Saturday February 11th 7:30pm Creemore
Game 5* Friday February 17th  8:30pm The Plex
Game 6* Saturday February 18th 7:30pm Creemore
Game 7* Sunday February 19th 5:00pm The Plex

* - if necessary

These two teams met up twice during the regular season, playing a home & home mini series on the December 8th & 9th.

Creemore came from behind in a back-and-forth battle on December 8th, taking a 5-4 overtime decision from the Winterhawks at The Plex.

Less than 24 hours later, the Winterhawks went into Creemore and handed the Coyotes their only shutout loss of the season, a 2-0 final, with Eric Peicheff picking up his first of three shutouts on the season.

The Winterhawks enter the series looking to continue their winning ways. The season started out on an up-and-down note, with a 3-3-0 record through the first six games. Following a disappointing loss in Shallow Lake on Nov. 25th, the Winterhawks hit the reset button and went on an 11-2-1 tear to finish the regular season.

Offence shouldn't be hard to come by in this series, both teams were amongst the league's elite offensive producers, both averaging more than 4.5 goals-for per game. The Winterhawks scored 97 goals during the 20-game regular season, while Creemore scored 92.

Offensively, the Winterhawks will be lead by their top line of Luke Pither, Miles MacLean and Lauchlin Elder, though a balanced attack saw 10 players produce at at least a point-per-game pace throughout the season.

MacLean lead the Winterhawks in scoring for the fourth time in his career, racking up 33 points (17 goals, 16 assists) in 19 games.

Pither has come as advertised, scoring at least one point in every game he played this season, recording 19 points (8 goals, 11 assists) in 10 games.

On the Creemore side, the Winterhawks will have to keep an eye on Coyotes leading scorer Ben Hughes, as well as forward J.D. Falconer and defenceman Adam Logozzo, who were the Coyotes top offensive producers all season long.

The Coyotes also boast offensive depth, with a number of players around a point-per-game pace.

Where the Winterhawks will look for an advantage in this series is on the defensive side of the puck. With a deep blue line and excellent goaltending, the Winterhawks gave up the second-fewest goals-against this season, with a team goals-against-average of 2.35, with only Seaforth allowing fewer goals to enter their net.

Jeff Flagler and Peicheff both played extremely well in the Winterhawks crease, and late-season addition Clayton Fritsch was solid in his lone appearance during the regular season.

On the flip side, Creemore averaged 4.70 goals-against per game, by far the most goals given up by any of the Sr. "AA" playoff teams.

In the crease, Tyler Brindle and Brendan Macham carried the bulk of the load for Creemore during the regular season, while Mason Kameka and Reid Hamilton saw spot duty throughout the season.

The remaining three Sr. "AA" quarterfinals are:

(1) Seaforth vs (8) Durham
(2) Ripley vs (7) Petrolia
(4) Minto vs (5) Tavistock

Playoff admission will be $12 per person for Winterhawks home games. Season ticket holders receive playoff admission as part of their season passes, and the team will honour any outstanding game passes during the playoffs.

Kids age 10 and under will still be admitted for free with an adult ticket purchase.

The seating area at The Plex will be licensed for the consumption of alcohol during the playoffs, a reminder that alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the front lobby or dressing room areas.

Winterhawks games are cash-only events. For your convenience, the team operates an ATM, located in the front lobby next to Gord's Pro Shop. 100% of the transaction fee supports Winterhawks operations.