Flagler brilliant in net as Winterhawks even series

Jeff Flagler made 43-saves as the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks evened their WOAA Sr. “AA” semi-final series with the Clinton Radars.

Miles MacLean had two goals and an assist as the Winterhawks took Game 2 by a score of 4-1.

The Winterhawks looked to avenge a poor start the previous night that put Game 1 out of reach before it had a chance to get going.

Flagler came up big early on as Clinton tried once again to strike early, including an early power play opportunity.

With the penalty killed, the Winterhawks opened the scoring at 6:49, with Trevor Smith getting the puck to Miles MacLean in the slot, firing the puck past Drew Reinhardt, who got the start for Clinton in place of the suspended Greg Dodds.

Clinton continued to push, including a breakaway by Kurtis Bartliff, who was turned aside by Flagler.

All told, Flagler turned aside 19 shots in the 1st period as the Winterhawks held on to a 1-0 lead.

Clinton had several more power play opportunities in the 2nd period, but a combination of tenacious penalty killing and Flagler kept the Radars at bay.

The Winterhawks picked up a power play of their own late in the period and made it count.

MacLean worked the puck down low to Trent Hawke, who made a nice reverse pass to Lauchlin Elder, who one-timed the puck past Reinhardt to give the Winterhawks a 2-0 lead at 15:17.

Clinton picked up an extended 5-on-3 advantage moments later, but again, they could not beat Flagler.

With only seconds left on the clock, the Winterhawks cleared the puck down into the Clinton zone, and Reinhardt raced out of the net to clear the puck away, but ended up turning it over to Andy Fracz.

Fracz had a wide open net, but Reinhardt managed to sprawl out and make a miraculous stop as the buzzer went, though the Clinton netminder appeared to injure himself on the play.

Reinhardt came out for the 3rd period, but was in obvious discomfort and was replaced by T.J. Baldwin early in the period.

Clinton picked up yet another power play early in the 3rd, but again, could not solve Flagler.

A minute later, Adam Little took a shot from the point, which was stopped by Baldwin, but the puck fell in behind the Clinton netminder, and MacLean was right there to shovel the puck into the net, extending the Winterhawks lead to 3-0.

The Radars finally solved Flagler off a faceoff at 10:32, as Sean Consitt was able to swat a rebound up and over Flagler to get Clinton on the board, cutting the Winterhawks lead to 3-1.

Andy Mitchell delivered the dagger at 14:13 of the 3rd period, leading a two-on-one rush up the ice, sliding a backhander past Baldwin to make it a 4-1 score.

Things got chippy at the end with Clinton taking several penalties, but the Winterhawks wisely stayed out of it, running the clock down and taking the victory.

The best-of-seven series is now tied 1-1, with Game 3 set for Friday night, March 8th, at 8:30 p.m. in Clinton.

SCHEDULING CHANGE: Please note, Game 4 in the series has been altered. The game will now be played on Sunday March 10th, at 6:00 p.m. at The Plex in Port Elgin.