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Friday October 12th, 2012

Posted at 8:09am

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Photo by Kevin Chauvin

It was undoubtedly Thursday night – Spitfire hockey at the WFCU Centre. From start to finish, the Windsor Spitfires had drive, energy and fuel in their tanks. Michael Clarke and Derek Schoenmakers had two goals each as the Spits controlled most of the game and won 7-4 against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

Windsor opened the scoring of this western battle when its power play unit scored just under a minute and a half into the period. Along the boards, Brandon Devlin pushed the puck to the corner to Michael Clarke. As he saw Derek Schoenmakers heading towards the net, he sent him a backhand pass. Schoenmakers’ soft wrist shot found its way between goalie Matt Murray’s legs for an early 1-0 lead. The lead wouldn’t last the whole period because of a couple disordered penalties. A roughing penalty was fought off, but was followed by a too many men bench minor. As a result, Sault Ste. Marie set up their power play. Brandon Alderson sent a cross-ice pass to Nick Cousins, who in turn sent it back. Once the puck had settled in front of the stick, he let a shot go that rocketed past goalie Jaroslav Pavelka. A little bit later in the period, again on the power play, Schoenmakers added another goal to his resume, his 4th of the season. The Spits were passing the puck really well: Ebert to Vail along the boards, Vail to Clarke behind the net. And for a second time, Clarke found Schoenmakers in front of the net. More opportunities for both teams, notably a shorthanded 2-on-1 for the Spitfires, but the period would end 2-1 in favour of the home team.

The Windsor Spitfires came out for the second period with the same energy that was evident in the first. Across the blue line, Chris Marchese passed to Kerby Rychel on the left side. Rychel passed to Josh Ho-Sang on the right, who made a forehand to backhand deke around the goalie for his first goal as a Spitfire. Only 57 seconds ticked off when Windsor went up 3-1. Momentum was certainly in their hands though. Despite taking two penalties, the players worked hard. Two Spitfires broke their sticks while shorthanded, leaving them practically defenseless. Clarke blocked a couple shot attempts and they were finally able to clear the puck to the roars of the crowd. The penalty kill surely fueled the team, as Vail got himself another point after picking up his own rebound short-side. At this junction of the game, the Greyhounds seemed to be taking several penalties. Luckily for them, Darnell Nurse’s wrist shot from the point beat Pavelka with just three seconds left in the period. The lead was cut to two, but the Spits were still up 4-2.

Because the first two periods were heavily pointed, it would be safe to assume both teams were out of gas, coming out for the third. That wasn’t the case. Both teams still had lots of firepower left in them. It was Jared McCann of the Greyhounds who brought his team within one after his wrist shot from the left circle rose high and above Pavelka’s glove. However, Kerby Rychel responded for Windsor on a 2-on-1 to regain a two-goal lead. Again, the Soo cut the lead to one, thanks to an extra player after pulling the goalie. Pavelka made save after save after save for his team as they tried to kill a late penalty. The puck deflected and bounced around, and was eventually picked up by Sergey Tolchinsky. He shot the puck past the diving goaltender. With just over a minute left, the Hounds tried once more to pull the goalie and tie the game. No luck this time as Michael Clarke shot the puck from his own zone into the empty net. Clarke added one more goal later off a rebound and that would wrap up the scoring. The Spits snap a three-game losing streak with a big 7-4 victory.

Windsor’s next home game is this Sunday against the Niagara Ice Dogs.

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