The Morris Mavericks are one win away from ending the 2018-2019 Zone 4 High School Hockey League season.
Maxime Collette and Justin Keck scored two goals each as the hometown Mavericks defeated the Garden Valley Zodiacs 4-0 in game one of the best-of-three final.
The series opener was scoreless for 39 minutes.
Collette notched his first of the night on the power play with 37 seconds remaining in the second period.
The Mavs captain then chased down a loose puck along the boards in the GVC zone with time winding down and fed a pass in front of the net where Keck redirected the puck past Zodiacs netminder Logan Enns with one second left in the middle frame.
Collette and Keck both scored again early in the third period.
Morris goaltender Ryan Coulombe made 24 saves in recording the shutout.
"I played decent," said Coulombe. "I can never be satisfied with the way I play. I can always be better."
The Mavericks extended their playoff winning streak to five games while the Zodiacs suffered their first loss of the postseason.
"We just didn't play a whole 60 minutes," said GVC captain CJ Lambkin when asked about game one. "They came out hard from the start. We matched them in the first and slacked off the rest of the game. We'll be ready to go Thursday,"
Game two goes Thursday (7:30 p.m.) at the Winkler Centennial Arena.
"We have to be at our best to compete with these guys," said Zodiacs head coach Keith Bially. "It's the old cliches - show up, play a full 60, drain the tanks and give them everything we got."
Mavs head coach Barry Lewis is expecting another fast-tempo game on Thursday.
"It's a reset. The score starts 0-0 and we're going to have to battle for every inch of ice we want."