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Friday February 22nd, 2013

Posted at 7:30am

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Windsor still has its scoring touch. With goals from Ben Johnson (two), Graeme Brown, Alex Aleardi and Kerby Rychel in the final twenty minutes, the Spitfires squashed the Erie Otters 8-5 Thursday night, at the WFCU Centre. Windsor is now nine points back from the eighth and final playoff spot.

Erie opened up the game’s scoring with a goal from J.P. Labardo. His wrist-shot from the right circle was enough to beat goalie Jordan DeKort. Windsor came back with one of their own a bit later. Trevor Murphy flipped the puck out of the zone to Alex Aleardi, who was coming out of the penalty box. After a forehand-to-backhand move on the breakaway, the game was even at a goal apiece. The Otters regained the lead less than three minutes later following a funny bounce beside the Windsor net. With the period nearing its end, the Spitfires were able to tie things up once more. Kerby Rychel’s initial shot was saved by goaltender Devin Williams. Alexander Khokhlachev was beside the net though, and his backhand shot went off the goalie’s mask and in. The Spitfires and Otters were tied at two after twenty minutes. Windsor commanded the shot clock 21-13.

Early in the second period, Erie’s Nick Betz was called for slashing, and it took Windsor seven seconds to capitalize with the extra player. Khokhlachev let a tricky, bouncing shot go that rebounded onto Remy Giftopoulos’ stick. He put it past Williams with ease as the Spits grabbed a 3-2 lead. Again, however, the pesky Otters would lower Windsor’s Spirits with another goal. Labardo was ready by the net for Connor Crisp’s pass – DeKort was not. Tied at three, Erie continued to put pressure on Windsor; pressure that paid off. Luke Cairns shuffled a soft pass to Dane Fox. His backhand shot made its way through DeKort’s legs and in. after two periods, the Otters held a 4-3 lead over the Spitfires.

At the end of the second period, a little scuffle took place between Nick Ebert and Connor Crisp. As a result, they each received roughing minors, while Crisp got an extra two minutes for slashing.

The Spitfires began the third period on the power-play, but to no avail. The team also had two unsuccessful breakaway chances from Aleardi and Emerson Clark. Windsor was hungry, and determined. Seven and a half minutes into the final period, that grit got Windsor its first of five third period goals. Off a great pass by Graeme Brown, Ben Johnson scored his first of two with a quick wrist-shot. Nearly two minutes later, Brown struck again for the Spitfires – this time with a goal. Khokhlachev circled the net and fed a pass across to the young Spitfire. He, too, let a quick, high wrist-shot go that found the back of the net. The goal was Brown’s first of his OHL career, and gave his team a 5-4 lead. Windsor was not done yet. A couple minutes later, Aleardi scored from the slot. Constant pressure by the Spits resulted in a post, and eventually, another goal. Johnson got his second of the game with a slap-shot from between the circles. Following an all-Windsor offense, the Otters fought back with a backhand goal from Stephen Harper. They came close again after a shot hit the crossbar. Time was winding down though, and as a result, Erie pulled their goalie. Just over a minute was left to play when Rychel hustled down the ice and chipped a backhand over the defender’s stick, into the empty net. Windsor’s high-scoring third period brought them an 8-5 win over the Erie Otters.

For his efforts Thursday night, Graeme Brown received the game’s first star.

Windsor heads to Plymouth Friday night before welcoming the Whalers this Sunday, February 24th. Puck drop is 2:05pm.

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