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Sunday March 11th, 2012

Posted at 9:33pm

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Photo by Kevin Chauvin

The Windsor Spitfires needed a win today. Coming up to the end of the regular, every point is valuable. And they got it. The Spitfires flew strong in a 7-5 win over the Sarnia Sting this afternoon, thus earning 2 valuable points in the race for the playoffs.

A well-paced period definitely set the tone for the game. Despite the lack of players for the Sting – 8 of them were scratched, including star forward Nail Yakupov – Sarnia got the game’s first 2 goals. Charles Sarault got the first after Ryan Spooner’s wrap around attempt went to his teammate, and he slid the puck through Spits goalie Jaroslav Pavelka’s legs. Sarault got himself another point after he drew Pavelka out of the net and glided the puck across the crease to Reid Boucher who tapped it in.

“Down by 2, we knew we had to come back,” said Brady Vail.

After a talk from the coaches, the players regrouped and added 2 goals of their own to the scoreboard. Michael Clarke tapped a pass forward to Stephen Alonge. His shot grazed the glove of Sarnia goalie Brandon Hope, and powered through into the net. Zack Macqueen scored shortly after when he tipped Saverio Posa’s slapshot. 4 goals were scored within a span of 3:20. However, Sarnia wasn’t done as they took the lead again. Connor Murphy scored after his one-timer slapshot made its way over Pavelka’s glove. Both teams got some chances, but the first period ended 3-2 in Sarnia’s favour.

In the second period, back and forth action for the teams kept the game’s play quick. The Spits had good speed on the powerplay, although Spooner alone killed 15 seconds off of the man advantage. As the period continued, the Spits got it rolling once again. Kerby Rychel scored his 37th of the year – his first of two – and his team tied the game. They took the lead before long after they had constant pressure in the Sting end. MacQueen had himself a breakaway that led to in close opportunities for the Spits. The puck managed to find its way to Michael Clarke who put it behind Hope. Though Windsor scored a pair, Sarnia wasn’t ready to give in, scoring a couple of their own. Sarault added another point to his tally, and Ludvig Rensfeldt put the Sting ahead 5-4. The Spitfires finished another period down by one.

To open the third period, Rychel got his 2nd of the game just 50 seconds in. And Sarnia’s Hope was gone as they switched goalies, bringing JP Anderson into the game. Both goalies had big saves throughout the period, but the Spitfires took control next. Brady Vail got the eventual game-winner. After picking the puck up at the red line, he skated in and let a wrist shot go. The Spits continued pressure, controlling the puck for most of the period. As the clock winded down, Sarnia began countering with its own pressure after pulling the goalie. With 6 players, they looked for the equalizer. However, Rychel blocked a pass and sprung Ben Johnson on a breakaway. The final buzzer sounded, and the 5881 fans in attendance cheered for their hometown boys.

Assistant coach D.J. Smith said, after the game, “It’s like a playoff feeling right now. We have the playoff atmosphere in the locker room.”

The Windsor Spitfires’ next home game is this Thursday, March 15th against a tough London Knights team.

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