By Lindsey Kuglin
The Western Junior C quarter-finals will be in full swing this weekend, with the Walkerton Hawks finishing top seed, with 59 points.
The Hawks were eight points ahead of the Kincardine Bulldogs. Mitchell finished in third by a hair with 45 points, Wingham with 44. Mount Forest had 35 points, while Hanover managed 26 points. Goderich bottomed the barrel with three points from one win and an overtime loss this season.
Hawk forward Drew Davidson finished the season with 101 points – good enough for second place in the league for scoring. Davidson was only behind Wingham wonderkind Aaron Armstrong who broke a 26-year record with 124 points.
Walkerton goalie Jeff Flagler finished the season in the top spot, with a 2.60 goals-against average, 18 wins, five losses, and one OT loss.
The Hawks, turning down the top-seed bye in the playoffs, will face the Goderich Sailors in quarter-finals. The first game is this Friday, with Games two and three on Saturday and Sunday.
Walkerton went one-for-three over the weekend to finish regular season play, losing to Hanover 6-5 in a shoot-out on Friday, and 2-1 to Wingham on Saturday. But they blew the Mitchell Hawks out of the sky with a 9-3 win on Sunday.
Friday saw Walkerton down 2-1 after the first, Shane MacDonald with the goal, assisted by Joel Bowman and Wade Pfeffer on the powerplay.
Davidson evened things out early in the second with help from David Gallo. Davidson scored the go-ahead halfway through, Austin Russell with the assist, but Hanover matched the goal again 20 seconds later. Walkerton’s Brooks Melthorpe scored the team’s fourth goal with Connor Patton and Lauchlin Elder’s help, Hanover scored their fourth with nine seconds to go in the second period.
The third saw a goal by each team, first Hanover at 11:02, and then Davidson got his hat trick on the equalizer with five minutes to go before the buzzer; Pfeffer and Russell with the assists.
Five minutes of extra time proved fruitless, and the game went to a shoot out.
Elder got Walkerton’s only shoot-out goal, while Hanover scored twice for the win.
Hanover’s Mitch Campbell picked up the win with 27 saves. Justin Hammond made 31 saves in the loss.
All the scoring for Saturday’s match up in Wingham was done in the second period.
After a scoreless first, Davidson hammered one in from Patton at 3;02. But that was answered at 12:32, and Wingham went ahead just seconds away from the buzzer.
The third was quiet, save a skirmish between MacDonald and Wingham’s Evan Ducharme, which landed them two minutes for roughing.
Wingham’s Keegan Woodman made 26 saves for the win, while Flagler had 29 saves in the loss.
Sunday, the Hawks came out soaring in a match-up against the Mitchell Hawks.
Walkerton started their nine-goal deluge early, with three unanswered in the first, and five in the second.
Pfeffer started things off at 5:20, with help from Davidson and Adam Alexander.
Davidson scored his first of three two minutes later with MacDonald’s help. Campbell scored unassisted at 10:57.
Elder continued the scoring trend a minute into the second, assisted by Davidson. Campbell scored his second halfway through the period, assisted by Russell and Pfeffer, followed by another Davidson goal a minute and a half later; Gallo and MacDonald with helpers.Alexander scored his own; Elder and Jay Thomson at 15:37. Nathan O’Hagan scored a minute later with help from Jake Barclay and Josh Perdue, to bring the score to 8-0 going into the third.
Mitchell found their feet nine minutes into the third, when they scored their first goal. Davidson answered that a minute later; Elder and Patton with the assists. Mitchell scored two more goals before the end of the period, narrowing the gap, but still leaving them with a six-goal deficit.
Flagler made 25 saves for the win, while Ben Nelson had 29 saves in the loss.
Walkerton hits home ice again at 8:30 p.m. on Friday for Game 1 of the quarter-final best-of-seven series with the Goderich Sailors. Game 2 is in Goderich at 8 p.m. on Saturday. The boys are back in town on Sunday for Game 3 at 4 p.m. Game 4 will be in Goderich on Wednesday at 9 p.m.