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winterhawks fullThe 2015/16 season is on the line for the Saugeen Shores Winterhawks as they head into Game 5 of their semifinal series with the Mapleton-Minto 81's.

The Winterhawks face a daunting task as they find themselves down 3-1 in the series as they head to Drayton on Saturday night.

Reeling off three straight wins when facing elimination certainly is not uncharted territory, however it's not ideal when facing a Mapleton-Minto team that has lost only three games all season, though it's worth pointing out two of those losses have come at the hands of the Winterhawks.

Injuries have taken their toll on the Winterhawks in this series, forcing the team to ice 16 skaters in Game 4's overtime loss, though it's hoped there could be reinforcements on the way.

"We've had a week to prepare and get some healthy bodies back in the lineup," said Head Coach Peter Roedger. "We've got to be coming at them with a long bench."

Roedger declined to specify which missing skaters may be able to return to the lineup, as injury updates are kept close to the vest during playoff time.

The team was without forwards Dave Grant, Andy Fracz and Jay Thomson for Game 4, while captain Greg Thede missed both games last weekend and goaltender Blake Sinclair was knocked out of Game 3 with an injury.

Josh Sturrock had been sidelined since January with an injury, but was able to return to the Winterhawks net for Game 4 and did not miss a beat.

"He was cool, calm and collected, [he] made the big saves when we needed it," said Roedger. "For not being in the net for a long period of time, he looked great."

Mapleton-Minto boasts the league's stingiest defence, limiting the Winterhawks to 10 goals in the series so far.

Defenceman Kyle Roulston opened the scoring in Game 4 and says the team just needs to get back to basics to put the puck in the net more often.

"We've just got to get more shots on net, get some traffic in front and hope that the bounces go our way this time," said Roulston.

One thing is for sure, the Winterhawks will not go down without a fight.

"Our backs are up against the wall, but we've got the guys in the room to do it," said Roulston. "We just have to dig deep, the guys are going to battle."

with files from winterhawks.net

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