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Saturday November 24th, 2012

Posted at 8:18am

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While Jack Frost nipped at noses outside of the WFCU Centre – with Windsor’s first snowfall of the season – the atmosphere was entirely different inside. The players were on fire, the crowd was lively and the excitement inside the arena was outstanding. And with the help of the young new players, the Spitfires bested the Saginaw Spirit 2-1 Friday night in Windsor.

Earlier, the Spitfires welcomed a couple players after a trade with the Peterborough Petes. Trevor Murphy and Zack Lorentz joined Windsor’s lineup, as Derek Schoenmakers and Brandon Devlin were sent to the Petes.

The Saginaw Spirit came into Windsor in hopes of not repeating a loss of such magnitude as last time – a 6-1 domination by the Spitfires. Saginaw had a couple of early chances: the puck bouncing off a Windsor defenseman and towards an alert Jaroslav Pavelka, as well as a post shortly after. Both teams maintained a good pace, playing nearly five consecutive minutes without a whistle. A bit later though, Windsor would get on the board first; the dynamic Clark(e) duo struck. When Michael Clarke’s initial shot was deflected high into the air, Emerson Clark watched the puck like the rest. All alone in front, he was able to tip it behind Jake Paterson, into the net. It was reviewed that his stick was not above the cross-bar, therefore giving the Spitfires a 1-0 lead, courtesy of the Clark(e) Combo.

The crowd was relentless with their cheers, especially after Windsor scored its first goal, and even more so when they scored their second. The 5749 fans screamed and were full of energy throughout the evening.

A couple close calls came later for Windsor as the team took a pair of penalties, but Pavelka was phenomenal. Patrick Sieloff, yet again, had a tremendous defensive game. The Spitfires responded with a few chances of their own. They hit the cross-bar on one occasion, and nearly went up 2-0 on another. Beautiful passing by the Spits’ forwards led to a great chance for new-comer Lorentz. He, however, had his stick lifted at the last moment. The teams exchanged chances before the period’s end, but after 20 minutes, the Spits were up 1-0.

Windsor tried to play the second as they did the first, but ended up playing shorthanded again. Fortunately, Saginaw couldn’t capitalize with the extra player. It wasn’t until later that the Spirit would even things up. Former Spitfire Eric Locke outskated the Windsor defenseman, passed to Justin Kea. The Spirit player was alone in front and simply tapped it past Pavelka. Back and forth, the two teams had the man-advantage but neither could score. The Spits had plenty of shots toward an empty net, because Paterson was out of position, but too many legs were in the way. Every time they tried to mount offense on a nice play, it seemed that the Spirit had their sticks in the passing and shooting lanes. After two periods of play, the score was tied at 1.

Led by Pavelka, and what’s become tradition for the Spitfires, Windsor came out the ice to the song “Some Nights”.

“This is it boys, this is war. What are we waiting for?”

Well, they were waiting until there was close to two minutes remaining in the third period.

Throughout the period, like the rest of the game, the teams had many chances to put their team up. For Windsor, they were the in-close opportunities against an remarkable Paterson. The goaltender would make save after save, dive after dive, to ensure the Spits would not take the lead. For Saginaw, they were the power-plays (offensive and defensive.) Vincent Trocheck had a shorthanded breakaway but another monumental save by Pavelka kept the game deadlocked at 1. With a little over two minutes to go, newly acquired Spitfire Trevor Murphy sealed the victory for Windsor. Josh Ho-Sang picked up the puck at his blue line and skated up the ice. He spun past a defender, evaded a poke check with some nifty stick work, and forwarded a pass to Murphy. His one-timer couldn’t be stopped as the Spits regained the lead. The Spirit pressed for the tying goal late in the period, but their effort was cut short by the final buzzer. The Windsor Spitfires have now defeated the Saginaw Spirit twice in a row.

It was a war indeed for the two goaltenders. Pavelka, who stopped 43 of 44 shots, once more outmatched his opponent Paterson, but both goalies respectfully earned a star – Pavelka 1st star, Paterson 3rd star – and applause from the crowd.

The Windsor Spitfires’ next home game is this Sunday, November 25th when they face the Kingston Frontenacs at 2pm.

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