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Friday January 11th, 2013

Posted at 9:39am

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The Windsor Spitfires are already proving to be a force to be reckoned with. In the first game with the new players, the Spits made their presence known. The new members of the team assisted on Windsor’s goals, and Jaroslav Pavelka stopped all 38 shots for a 3-0 shutout win over the Brampton Battalion Thursday night, at the WFCU Centre.

The WFCU Centre certainly was electric. The crowd roared at the introduction and return of Alexander Khokhlachev. All night, the fans were loud and full of energy.

Following a busy trading week for the Windsor Spitfires, the team sent a message to the rest of the conference, and perhaps the league, that there was still fuel left in their engines. For the Spitfires, the players had a newfound confidence on the ice.

And for all the right reasons, too.

Windsor opened up the scoring in the first period with Ryan Verbeek’s wrist shot. Remy Giftopoulos passed to Alex Aleardi (both newly acquired Spits) along the boards. Aleardi won the battle and got the puck to Verbeek. His quick shot from the slot beat the glove of goalie Matej Machovsky. Later in the period, the Spits took the game’s first penalty, but successfully defended it. At the end of the period, though Brampton had a 15-6 shot advantage, Windsor held a 1-0 lead.

The same pace was kept by Windsor to begin the second period: completed passes, great puck movement and the team playing as one. As a result, the Spitfires built a two-goal lead early in the period. Chris Marchese found Emerson Clark nearing the front of the net. Once he had the puck on his stick, he lifted a shot high and over Machovsky’s shoulder. Only three minutes later, the Spits went up by three. Kerby Rychel received a pass from Alexander Khoklachev. His hard shot went high and over the net, but the puck bounced awkwardly off the boards and in front. Ben Johnson was heading to the front when he found the puck and slapped it in. A 3-0 lead was taken to the locker room after two periods.

The Brampton Battalion started the third period with a goalie change, bringing in Jake Smith. He was quickly put to the test because of early chances by Khoklachev and Rychel. He would have to endure more offense by the energetic Spitfires as Windsor went on a power-play. Aleardi made a big impact on the man-advantage when he batted a clearing attempt out of the air to keep the pressure on the Battalion. From there, he set up a couple of close opportunities, and even had a great shot of his own. The crowd screamed and cheered as they applauded the efforts of the new Spitfire. A few shifts later, Aleardi was back out, stole the puck, and broke free on a breakaway. He was tripped and was awarded a penalty shot. Although he couldn’t beat Smith, he held his head high; his team was still had a three-goal lead. The Spitfires played hard until the end as Windsor skated to a 3-0 win Thursday night.

Though he was the only newcomer to not record a point, Slater Koekkoek shut down Brampton’s offense and had himself a strong game as well.

The victory snaps a seven-game losing streak for the Spits.

The Spitfires’ next home game is Thursday, January 17th against the Mississauga Steelheads.

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