Monumental momentum was favouring the Windsor Spitfires following Sunday’s shootout win – their first of the season. Thursday evening though, the Spits ran into some early trouble, but recovered with three straight goals against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to earn the 3-2 victory in front of 5368 fans, inside the WFCU Centre.
As the tone of the game began to settle in the first period, it became clear that the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds would not sit back. Windsor didn’t start things in a good way, taking the game’s first penalty just a minute and a half in. A strong penalty kill kept the Spitfires optimistic, until the Hounds took the lead. An out-of-position Jaroslav Pavelka was not able to stop Sergey Tolchinsky’s shot from in-close. The Spits almost tied things up after a tipped shot, but they went to the locker room down by a goal. The Greyhounds held the edge in shots 16-11.
Early in the second period, two Spitfires failed to connect on breakaways: Josh Ho-Sang had his stick lifted before he could shoot and Kerby Rychel’s shot was stopped by a pad save. Shortly thereafter, Sault Ste. Marie added another goal. Michael Schumacher skated around Patrick Sieloff as he tried to keep up. With great puck movement, Schumacher got the puck from Ryan Sproul and put it past Pavelka. It seemed like the energy deflated in the arena. However, Ben Johnson and Josh Ho-Sang began to revitalize the crowd. After receiving a long pass from captain Saverio Posa, Ho-Sang skated between the defenders. He spun around and slid a backhand pass to Johnson who tapped it behind goalie Matt Murray. A Greyhounds penalty led to another Spits goal, and they were right back in it. On the power-play, Brady Vail stretched to keep the puck in the offensive zone. He settled the puck, and let a slapshot go that made its way directly to the back of the net. The game was now tied 2-2 going into the third. In the second, Windsor went on an 11-6 shot run in the second half of the period.
An evenly matched period for the most part, the players tried for the go-ahead goal. As the final period ticked on, each team was looking for the other’s mistake. Coming out on top were the Windsor Spitfires, specifically Kerby Rychel. Zack Lorenz made a few moves around the Soo defense, but his shot was saved. Fortunately for the Spits, the puck lay beside Murray, who failed to cover it. After a couple swats, Rychel made the sure the puck was across the line then jumped in celebration. With just a little over four minutes remaining, the Greyhounds didn’t have much time to work. Windsor stayed solid and played defensive hockey to secure the win. Although narrowly outshot 40-37, the Spits’ three goals were numbers that mattered most.
With the victory, Windsor earns its first back-to-back wins of the season.
The Spitfires will look to keep things progressing Sunday afternoon when former Spitfires assistant coach D.J. Smith returns to the WFCU Centre with the Oshawa Generals. Puck drop is 2:05pm.