fullA curse, voodoo, witchcraft, bad luck; whatever the case, Winterhawks head coach Peter Roedger feels there's something unexplainable impacting his team.

With the club facing the 1st place Mapleton-Minto 81's and poised to ice a full lineup for the first time this season, the Winterhawks found out at the 11th hour that starting goaltender Josh Sturrock was dealing with an emergency situation en route to the game and would not be able to make it.

Practice goaltender Kevin McGivern got the nod and put up a valiant performance in his senior hockey debut, as the Winterhawks fell 5-3 to the visitors from Mapleton-Minto.

"I would swear, (Sturrock's emergency) is not even on the list of things that could possibly happen," said Roedger. "Hats off to Kevin for coming in in the most difficult of situations and playing that well."

Bryan Kazarian got the Winterhawks on the board, hammering home a one-timer past 81's goaltender Nick Horrigan at 4:30 of the 1st period.

Andy Fracz got the home team up 2-0 just three minutes later, putting a puck home in the slot.

Soon after, the 81's pounced on the rookie netminder, putting four pucks past McGivern in the span of five minutes and that put Mapleton-Minto up 4-2 after the 1st period.

The Winterhawks came out with some energy in the 2nd period, but couldn't find a way to beat Horrigan.

Mapleton-Minto would extend their lead to 5-2 late in the 2nd when Kaine Geldart beat McGivern on a wraparound that just barely trickled over the line.

Brendon Haefling made it interesting early in the 3rd when he beat Horrigan to cut the lead to 5-3, but that's as close as the Winterhawks would get.

McGivern made 23 saves in his senior hockey debut, and was named Wismer House Player of the Game for his efforts.

The loss drops the Winterhawks to 5-6-0 on the season, and they will look to rebound next Friday night, December 11th, when the Lucknow Lancers visit The Plex at 8:30 p.m.

More photos to come.

With files from winterhawks.net