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Friday November 2nd, 2012

Posted at 8:06am

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Welcome home, Windsor! After playing the past five games in hostile territory, the boys were back in town. And the young stars were shining bright Thursday night. Ben Johnson, Kerby Rychel, Josh Ho-Sang and Brady Vail all had a multiple-point evening, while Jaroslav Pavelka stopped 38 of 41 – respectively earning him the game’s first star – as the Windsor Spitfires returned to the WFCU Centre with a powerful 6-3 win over their rivals, the London Knights.

The game opened up with familiar, but great Windsor-London hockey. Each team had their share of chances, hits and everything in between. Ty Bilcke, though landing a couple good uppercuts, took most of the blows during a tough tilt against Paxton Leroux. Patrick Sieloff made his presence known when he delivered yet another one of his patented hits along the boards. Five minutes into the period, the Spits commanded the shot clock 4-1. Shortly after though, his team took the game’s first two penalties. The power-play opportunities were unsuccessful for the Knights, and they in turn took a couple penalties. Despite having the extra player, the Spitfires could not benefit. It was actually London who scored on the Windsor power-play when Seth Griffith broke into the zone and slid the puck between Jaroslav Pavelka’s legs. With seven minutes left in the period, London controlled the shots 13-4. The Knights had a 1-0 lead and distinct 16-7 shot advantage after one.

The second period was almost the same as the first: equal opportunities and scoring chances for the two Western teams. London backed Windsor into a corner when Remi Elie’s wrist shot beat a group of tired Spitfires. Being down by two, the Spits had an uphill battle against a tough London team, but they got their engines fired up. They began their comeback simply 25 seconds later. Ho-Sang and Vail raced forward on a 2-on-1. Ho-Sang’s pass across was followed by a quick one-timer by Vail, and the Spitfires were within one. Nearing the end of the period, Ho-Sang was back for more. While behind the net, he found Sieloff creeping into the slot. Another one-timer shot beat Jake Patterson to tie the game at two with only 31 seconds before the buzzer. The Knights still dominated in the shot category, 33-15, but score was tied, heading into the third.

London was hoping to make the third period its own. The team did so by scoring a little over a minute in. A slap-pass to Griffith behind the net led to a wrap-around attempt. The save bounced to Alex Broadhurst, and he lifted the puck over Pavelka. However, it didn’t take long for the Spits to respond. After numerous tries, Derek Schoenmakers scored his 8th goal of the season just over two minutes later. He fired shot after shot and each time, the rebound returned to him. When the puck slid to Michael Clarke, his shot was saved. The rebound once again trickled to Schoenmakers who, after a couple more shots, managed to put it behind Patterson. Later, Ben Johnson also worked tremendously hard for his goal, giving the Spits their first lead of the game. Windsor’s fourth goal would call out the backup goalie, Kevin Bailey. Another Spitfire who was rewarded for his efforts was Ho-Sang. Already with two assists on the night, he had a short break-away from the London blue line. As he faked the backhand and went forehand, the puck hit the post and sat on the goal line. It was a London player skating toward the net that accidentally tapped it in. Kerby Rychel closed the scoring on the empty net when he poke-checked the puck off the defender’s stick and in. The Windsor Spitfires won a big game against the London Knights 6-3 in front of 5832 cheering fans.

The Spitfires have a tough weekend ahead of them as they take on the Kitchener Rangers Friday night in Kitchener. They’re back to battle the Belleville Bulls Sunday afternoon at the WFCU Centre.

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