Ripley Wolves take overtime win, advance to the finals
March 15, 2023
Cody Britton was the Game 7 overtime hero as the Ripley Wolves defeated the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks in a hard-fought series, Tuesday night at the Ripley Arena.
Britton's winner capped an incredible shift for one of the team's long-time leaders, after he won a battle at the blue-line to dump the puck in deep, laid a hit to retrieve possession, fed it to the point, and scampered to the front of the net where he tipped in the shot over the clearly injured but battling ‘Hawks goalie Jeff Flagler and under the crossbar, nearly blowing the roof off the Ripley barn that was bursting at its seams.
Assists went to Derek Skinner and Ryan Shaw.
Without an out-of-this-world glove save from goalie Jason Hamilton on a point blank slap-shot just a few minutes earlier, the first game of the final would've been played north of here instead. Hamilton was simply outstanding the entire game, unflappable in overtime, and carried this team to its destination.
Saugeen Shores opened the scoring nine minutes into the first, but Garrett Meurs soon evened the score, from Britton, ending the period at 1-1.
The ‘Hawks scored early in the second, but, after an ineffective powerplay ended, Skinner went end-to-end and fired a laser beam under the bar to knot the game at twos, where it would stay until Britton's heroics.
Shots were 35-31 in favour of Saugeen Shores.
Through all this excitement, the Ripley Wolves send their respect to the Winterhawks for not only battling back from a 3-0 deficit in the series to force overtime in Game 7, but also for playing through the shock of the sudden death of long-time volunteer Doug Wood soon after Game 6.
The Wolves thank the hundreds of fans who joined them in observing a moment of silence prior to Game 7, and the Wolves send their condolences to the Winterhawks organization and Wood's family and friends.
Ripley Wolves will now face the Tavistock Royals in the WOAA Senior “AA” finals, after the Royals upset the top-seeded Seaforth Centenaires in six games in the other semi-final.
Game 1 will be played in Ripley, Saturday, March 18, at 7 p.m., while Game 2 will be in Tavistock, Sunday, March 19, at 3:30 p.m.
Games 3-7 are still to be determined, but watch the Wolves Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as the website at ripleywolves.com/, for details as they become available.
The Wolves have never been crowned WOAA Senior “AA” champions. Four more wins will right that.
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