It's a familiar match-up to get the OEHL Cup Playoffs underway.
The Winterhawks have drawn the Creemore Coyotes in the quarterfinal round, a rematch of their 2023 playoff series a year ago.
Game 1 will go this Friday night, February 9th, at The Plex in Port Elgin at 8:30 p.m., with Game 2 on Saturday night in Creemore at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for Winterhawks home games will be $12 per person, with kids 10 & under admitted free with an adult ticket purchase. As always, season ticket passes are valid for playoff entry.
|Fri. Feb. 9
|Sat. Feb. 10
|Fri. Feb. 16
|Sat. Feb. 17
|Sun. Feb. 18
|Fri. Feb. 23
|Sat. Feb. 24
The script has perhaps flipped from a year ago, as last year the Winterhawks went into the series as the prohibitive favourite and higher seed, taking a physical war of a series in six games.
This time around, it's Creemore with home ice advantage after finishing in second place and the Winterhawks in seventh.
The 2nd vs. 7th series can sometimes be a mismatch, but this series should be anything but.
Only six points separated the two teams in the standings and when they met during the regular season, both contests were nailbiters.
The Winterhawks dropped a 3-2 overtime decision with a short bench in Creemore in early December, then three weeks later at The Plex, a flu-riddled Winterhawks squad fell 3-0 with an empty netter in a game that was scoreless entering the third period.
If the Winterhawks are going to succeed in this series, they will have to rely on their ability to keep the puck out of their net.
The Winterhawks allowed the third-fewest goals in the league, averaging 2.70 goals-against per game, thanks in large part to a deep blue line and consistently strong goaltending from their quartet of goaltenders.
Since adding Alec Tiley to the blueline in late December, the Winterhawks surrendered just eight goals (excluding empty netters) in their final six games of the regular season.
It will be especially important in this series, since Creemore boasts one of the most powerful offences in the league, scoring an average of 4.95 goals-per-game, only Ripley Wolves scored more often than Creemore.
There is no question the Winterhawks will have to find ways to score more goals. Finding the twine became a major challenge down the stretch for the Winterhawks, who were shut out twice in their final five games, including at the hands of Creemore.
Elsewhere in the OEHL Cup quarterfinals:
(1) Ripley Wolves vs (8) Erin Outlaws
(3) Minto 81's vs (6) Seaforth Centenaires
(4) Tavistock Royals vs (5) Durham Thundercats
Full playoff details can be found on the OEHL Website: https://oehlhockey.ca/2024-playoffs/