Tillsonburg Thunder had already clinched first place in the WOAA Senior Men's Hockey South Division and a first-round match with Goderich, but their weekend opponents – Petrolia and Milverton – are still jockeying for playoff positions.
Tillsonburg held on to defeat Petrolia 3-2 Saturday night at home, but lost 4-3 in Milverton Sunday afternoon. Petrolia came out of the weekend sixth in the eight-team division (10-9-3), one point ahead of seventh-place Milverton (10-11-2). The Squires, who will face either Komoka or Tavistock in the first round, have a game in hand.
The Thunder outshot Petrolia 43-24, but couldn't shake the Squires who trailed 2-1 after an opening period in which both teams scored on the power play. Chris McGuffin extended Tillsonburg's lead late in the second period, assisted by Curtis Maracle and Brad Jones, and it proved to be the winner.
Craig Hottot cut Tillsonburg's lead to one at 14:59 of the third scoring with 36 seconds left in a Petrolia power play, just seconds after Devin Homick was stopped trying to deke Petrolia goalie Chris Houle on a short-handed breakaway.
Nathan Peacock appeared to provide Tillsonburg insurance when he scored with 10:46 left to play, but his goal – the end result of a series of sharp passes – was disallowed because a post from the Squires' net was marginally off its magnet.
Thunder goalie Cody Vinnai made 22 saves for the win.
Tillsonburg will conclude its regular season in Monkton Friday, Jan. 24, and at home Saturday, Jan. 25, against Clinton (7:30 p.m.).
Tillsonburg 3, Petrolia 2
9:39 Petrolia PP
6:17 Tillsonburg PP, Kevin Galerno (Justin Salt)
4:12 Tillsonburg PP, Justin Salt (Kevin Galerno, Nathan Peacock)
4:07 Tillsonburg, Chris McGuffin (Curtis Maracle, Brad Jones)
14:59 Petrolia PP