A power play goal early in the third period lifted the Ripley Wolves past the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks in the opening game of their WOAA Sr. "AA" semi-final series.
It was no surprise when both teams came out skating, pushing the tempo early on, though solid defensive play at both ends limited the chances.
Jeff Flagler got the start for the Winterhawks and made several nice saves early on in the game.
Ripley got on the board late in the first period when the Wolves got loose for a two-on-one and Ryan Shaw deposited the puck past Flagler.
Ripley picked up a late power play in the first, but the Winterhawks penalty killers turned away the Wolves power play to hold the score at 1-0 through 20 minutes.
The Winterhawks bounced back quickly in the second period when Medric Mercier fired a pass up to Trent Hawke, who stepped inside the Ripley blue line and sent a pass across the ice to Lauchlin Elder.
Elder fired a low shot under the blocking arm of Wolves netminder Jason Hamilton 51-seconds into the middle frame to knot the score at 1-1.
A bevy of penalties followed that saw the Winterhawks pick up an extended 5-on-3 advantage, but they couldn't score before being whistled on a penalty of their own, keeping the score at 1-1.
The Winterhawks controlled the remainder of the second period, outshooting Ripley 16-8 in the middle frame, but the score remained 1-1 after one.
Ripley went ahead on the power play early in the third after a late penalty call. The Wolves won the draw cleanly and sent the puck to the front of the net, Flagler made the initial save, but Shaw had a wide open net on the rebound to deposit the puck.
The Wolves clogged up the small Ripley ice surface from there and frustrated the Winterhawks skaters, who couldn't get much going.
Ripley added an empty netter with under a minute to play to make it a 3-1 final in a highly entertaining Game 1. The Winterhawks outshot Ripley 33-30 on the night.
The series now heads back to The Plex for Game 2 tonight at 9:00 p.m.