Winterhawks blanked at Coliseum

A familiar theme reared its ugly head as the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks concluded their 2023-24 regular season.The Winterhawks and Ripley Wolves waged an entertaining contest in front of a capacity crowd at the Southampton Coliseum on Friday night, but as has been the case recently, the Winterhawks could not find the back of the net.In a relatively even contest, a five-on-three goal was the difference, as the first place Wolves edged the Winterhawks 2-0 with the help of an empty net goal.The early play was as advertised, hard hitting and end-to-end with solid defensive play and goaltending thwarting any offensive chances.

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Ripley pushed early to get on the board, but Winterhawks goaltender Jeff Flagler was up to the task and made some excellent saves to keep it 0-0.

                                                Flagler makes one of many saves
                                               Goalie Jason Hamilton

The Wolves picked up a power play late in the first, which was expanded to a two-man advantage just over a minute later.The lethal Ripley power play wasted no time, needing just 12 seconds with the five-on-three for Brett Catto to rip a shot past Flagler to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead.The Winterhawks generated more chances in the 2nd period, but Ripley netminder Jason Hamilton would not allow any pucks to get through him.A Winterhawks power play, a relative rarity in recent games, came midway through the second, but the Wolves penalty killers were aggressive and prevented the Winterhawks from generating any dangerous chances.The theme of the two goalies continued throughout the rest of the game, as neither would budge and the score remained 1-0 until the final minute.

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The Winterhawks picked up a power play with 46-seconds left in the third, which was essentially a two-man advantage with Flagler on the bench for an extra attacker.Justin Donnelly won the ensuing faceoff, but it was the aggressive Ripley defenders that jumped on the puck first, and Tyson Soers fired it the length of the ice into the empty net for the 2-0 final.Flagler took the loss, but made 30 saves in an excellent performance to be named The Wismer House Player of the Game.The loss concluded the Winterhawks regular season with a record of 11-8-1, and will begin the OEHL Cup Playoffs during the weekend of February 9th-11th.The OEHL standings are jam packed, so they will have to wait until the dust settles next weekend to find out who they will be facing in the quarterfinal round.Further updates will be posted on, the team social media pages and Saugeen Times, when available.