Winterhawks send Walkerton to B playoffs
The Walkerton Capitals kept things interesting until the final weekend, but a late-season run to qualify for the WOAA Senior AA playoffs came to an end Friday night in Port Elgin.
After shutting out the league leading Winterhawks at home the previous weekend, the Caps faced another must-win game Friday night on the road – against the same team.
While goaltender Jason Hamilton was again stellar, Walkerton couldn't pull off a second straight upset and dropped this game 5-3.
It looked good early. Mitch Allen put Walkerton in front just 17 seconds in, scoring from former Winterhawk Brent Buckton. The capacity crowd in Port Elgin came back to life, however, when Blake Underwood scored goals four minutes apart to make it 2-1. His second came with the man advantage. Walkerton captain Andy Cline scored late in the period to make it 2-2 at the first break.
Former Walkerton Hawks captain Curtis Johnston made it 3-2 on a second period power play, and then added the eventual game winner midway through the third. Darryl MacKinnon made it 5-2, but Cline responded with his second of the game, and 17th of the season, to make it 5-3. It was as close as the Caps would get.
Jeremy Beatty made 20 saves for Saugeen Shores, who clinched first overall in the WOAA North with the win and will face Shallow Lake in the opening round. At the other end, Hamilton stopped 44 shots for the Caps, who couldn't overcome an awful 0-9 start despite playing quality hockey down the stretch.
Walkerton will now play Drayton and Clinton in a round robin, with the top two teams facing each other in a best-of-seven series for the Senior B title.
In a game that meant nothing to either team, the Capitals were noticeably flat in a Saturday night loss to the Crushers. Cline, Allen, Tim Dwinnell and Brady Houston each scored for the Caps in an 8-4 loss, with assists going to Kyle Roulston, Houston, Allen and Brady Barfoot. Kevin Beirnes scored twice for the Crushers, with single markers going to Chad Jones, Ian Barnard, Lance Ashkewe, Jeremiah Henderson, Chris King and Mike Rocca. Former Walkerton resident Corey Hayward got the win for Shallow Lake, making 21 saves while Adam Clark stopped 23 shots in the Walkerton net.
The WOAA Senior AA and B playoff schedules had not been finalized as of Monday morning. The postseason, however, is likely to begin this weekend, so keep an eye on walkertoncapitals.com for playoff dates and times.