CALEDONIA - Stratford Cullitons rode the hot hands of Shane O’Brien to a 6-4 victory in front of about 475 fans in the Midwestern Conference semi-final series opener here Thursday night.
After tying the score 1-1 in the first period, Stratford’s leading scorer in the playoffs fired back-to-back goals in the middle frame to put the visitors up 4-1. O’Brien’s hat-trick goal came while his team was shorthanded. He also added two assists for a five-point night.
Powerplay goals by Marc Silvestri and Matt Quilty left the Corvairs trailing just 4-3 early in the third. Josh Miller’s powerplay goal at 6:08 restored a two-goal edge for Cullitons and it proved to be the winner.
Veteran Tyler Norrie made it a one-goal game again, connecting for Caledonia’s third powerplay of the contest at 9:27. Dylan Wettlaufer finally clinched it for Stratford with an empty-netter with 1:12 left on the clock.
The best-of-seven series resumes tonight (Mar. 5) at the Allman Arena. Game 3 is Sunday in Caledonia, with Game 4 back in Stratford Monday. All are 7:30 p.m. face-offs.