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Friday September 28th, 2012

Posted at 12:13am

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File photo by Kevin Chauvin

The Windsor Spitfires had a daunting task ahead of them Thursday night, facing the 2-0 Kitchener Rangers in a Western Conference showdown. The home-town boys were prepared though; they came out firing. The Spits took 37 shots, scored four goals and earned a monumental 4-2 win over the (previously) undefeated Rangers.

The Spitfires were aware of the strong team before them, but it was quick and early offense that gave them the edge. Chris Marchese opened the scoring by hustling across the blue line to pick up a loose puck. After out-skating the defenseman, he made a backhand-to-forehand move to deke Kitchener goalie Franky Palazzese, and lifted the puck into the net. The Ranger offense wouldn’t let the Spits maintain their lead, however, as Brent Pedersen tied it up for his team later in the period on the power-play. The Spits showed patience and composure throughout the period with their cross-ice passes and zone entrances. After 20 minutes of play, the teams were headed to the locker room with a goal apiece.

Five minutes into the second period, the Spits struck again. The teams scrambled for the puck in front of Palazzese, but it was Derek Schoenmakers who found it. He then skated out to the right, and put it into the empty side of the net to give his team the lead for a second time. That would be the only goal of the period; after 40 minutes, the Spitfires were up 2-1.

Early in the third, Patrick Sieloff caught Kitchener player Justin Bailey with his head down as he played the puck, and delivered a high-impact, shoulder-to-chest hit. Curtis Meighan stepped up to defend his fallen teammate but Sieloff would win that bout with a few solid punches. Though he won the battle, he lost the war. The Spitfire was handed a five-minute major for charging and a game-misconduct, as well as a five-minute major for fighting and another game-misconduct. On the ensuing power-play, the Rangers scored the equalizer. Following a failed clearing attempt by Brandon Devlin, Radek Faksa slid a pass to Tobias Rieder. He one-timed a quick shot past goalie Jaroslav Pavelka to tie the game at two. The Spits had a chance to again take the lead on a power-play opportunity, but were not able to connect. It wasn’t until there was less than a minute to play that the Spits would deliver the final blow. Chris Marchese and Brady Vail crossed the blue line into the opposition’s zone. Marchese forwarded a pass to Vail, who in return, dropped the puck back to Marchese. He made no mistake of shooting the puck over Palazzese’s glove for his second goal of the night. Michael Clarke added an empty-net goal after fighting off a couple of Kitchener players. Clarke now has a goal in each of the Spitfires’ three games. The Spitfires fought off the Rangers and won 4-2 in front of 5318 cheering fans.

A big win like this early in the season is certainly a confidence booster for the young Spitfires. They hope to continue their momentum heading into tomorrow night’s game as they take on the Mississauga Steelheads. The team is back in Windsor Sunday afternoon, welcoming the Sudbury Wolves at 2:05pm.

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