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Thursday March 1st, 2012

Posted at 11:25pm

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File photo by Kevin Chauvin

The Thursday Night Curse has been lifted. With strong offense from Ben Johnson and Alexander Khokhlachev, as well as solid goaltending by Jaroslav Pavelka, the Windsor Spitfires soared to a 5-2 win over the Brampton Battalion this evening at the WFCU Centre.

The game began on an odd note tonight Windsor’s first goal came early, just 1:28 into the period. Nick Czinder passed the puck to Kerby Rychel, who was behind the net. After taking a hit, Czinder got up and received the return pass from Rychel. He attempted to feed the puck to Khokhlachev waiting out front, but it hit the stick of Battalion left-winger Ian Watters and ended up in the net. After reviewing, Watters shot it in his own net in an effort to clear the puck away from the front. The miscue put the Spits up 1-0. Less than 30 seconds later, however, Brampton responded with a lucky goal of its own. Brenden Miller’s shot slid between Jaroslav Pavelka’s legs as he tried to squeeze his pads together. The 5307 fans watched the puck slowly trickle across the line before Pavelka could grab hold of it. Later on in the period, Alexander Khokhlachev restored his team’s lead on the powerplay. After a few clever moves, he passed the puck to defenseman Derek Holden. Holden forwarded the puck to fellow defenseman Nick Ebert, who then found Khokhlachev in the middle. The puck bounced off his skate to his stick, and he fired it past goalie Matej Machovsky. The Battalion didn’t give up though. When the Spits had control in the offensive zone, the puck was stolen from Ebert and the Battalion took off on a 3-on-1. Pavelka stood tall as he made a big glove save on Barclay Goodrow’s shot. They kept the offense, and as a result, managed to tie things up with less than a second to play in the period.

For the second time in the game, the Spitfires recorded another early goal. Ben Johnson got his first of two after shooting the puck through Machovsky’s legs and into the back of the net. The Spits again had the lead. Regardless of the score, the Battalion didn’t sit back. They kept great control of the puck, resulting in many Windsor giveaways once they had the puck. The Spits were outskated, giving up rebounds and missing passes. Brampton pressed for a tying goal, but it never came. Their woes grew when Chris Marchese and Ben Johnson exploded on a 2-on-1. The duo struck again for the Spits, as Johnson’s pass made it to Marchese who let a rocket go over the blocker. Windsor was up 4-2 after two periods of play.

In the 3rd period, both teams kept the puck moving. The Spits played great defensive hockey, while the Battalion kept great puck control for most of the period. It was fast paced, with both teams getting chances. In a last minute effort to score, Brampton’s goalie was pulled. Johnson saw this opportunity and took it, skating out of his zone with the puck, fighting off a check and scoring on the empty net. That would be it for the evening as Windsor wins the game 5-2, despite being outshot 37-23.

Western Conference Playoff Race

With a win tonight, the Spits earned two very important points as the playoffs near. With tonight’s win, they are currently in 7th with 60 points. Saginaw, who is situated in 6th, lost tonight, and as a result, remain just 2 points ahead of the Spitfires. Windsor has a busy weekend in front of them, facing a tough Whalers squad Saturday night in Plymouth, followed by a visit by Saginaw Sunday afternoon at the WFCU Centre.

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