The Saugeen Shores Winterhawks opened up the 2023 WOAA Sr. AA playoffs on the right note.
After Mother Nature delayed Game 1 by 24 hours, the Winterhawks went into enemy territory and took a 6-3 win over the Creemore Coyotes on Saturday night.
The Winterhawks jumped out quickly, with Miles MacLean opening the scoring 3:30 into the game, picking up the puck off a Luke Pither shot as it bounced off the back boards and deposited it behind Creemore goalie Tyler Brindle.
Lauchlin Elder made it 2-0 less than three minutes later when pressure paid off as Medric Mercier got the puck to Elder, who put a shot top shelf.
Despite controlling the vast majority of the opening frame, a brief lapse cost the Winterhawks, as Creemore leading scorer Ben Hughes scored twice 21 seconds apart to knot the game at 2-2 after one period.
Elder struck again on the power play early in the 2nd when Pither’s pass made to a waiting Elder, who hammered a slap shot past Brindle.
The Winterhawks killed a pair of penalties in the second, topping it off with a goal after the second penalty ended.
Trent Hawke fired a quick shot off a Creemore defender into the top corner to make it 4-2 Winterhawks after two.
The Winterhawks took the game by the throat early in the 3rd when Andy Mitchell deflected in a pass to make it 5-2, with assists to Logan Freiburger & Justin Donnelly.
The Winterhawks killed off three consecutive penalties, including two 5-on-3s, to keep it a 5-2 game.
Creemore scored on a penalty shot with a minute remaining, but MacLean added an empty net goal to make it a 6-3 final.
Eric Peicheff was excellent when called upon in the Winterhawks net, picking up the win.
The Winterhawks lead the best-of-seven series 1-0, with Game 2 scheduled for this Friday night, February 10th, at 8:30 p.m.