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Saturday February 16th, 2013

Posted at 8:17am

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A crushing ending to a crucial game. In an unbelievable twist of events, Windsor sat speechless. The Spitfires could not fathom the reality that Sarnia had scored with 12.3 seconds remaining in the third period. But it was reality. Daniel Nikandrov scored for the Sting in the dying seconds of the game to secure the 2-1 victory over the Spitfires Friday night in Windsor.

The opening period was relatively slow-paced at the WFCU Centre. Both teams played conservatively, trying to avoid mistakes. Though Windsor had a couple chances on a 2-on-1 and a breakaway, they couldn’t beat goalie JP Anderson. After one period, the game was scoreless.

The Spitfires ran into a little bit of penalty trouble in the second period. Unfortunately, the Sting took advantage with the extra player. On the power-play, Alex Basso centered a pass to Reid Boucher. He fired a quick slap-shot over Jaroslav Pavelka’s glove for his 50th goal of the season, and gave his team a 1-0 lead. Windsor killed off the other three penalties of the period, but trailed by one after two.

Down by a goal, the Spitfires came onto the ice for the third period with some energy. That extra drive allowed them to tie the game a little less than two minutes in. Remy Giftopoulos notched his 22nd of the season on the power-play. With great puck possession skills, Alexander Khokhlachev faked a wrist-shot that had the Sting defenseman drop to block. The play opened up a passing lane to Kerby Rychel beside the net. Rychel turned and sent a backhand pass to Giftopoulos all alone in front of Anderson. Plenty of time remained as the Spitfires scored the equalizer.

The game was all even at one, and nearing overtime. Unluckily for Windsor, Sarnia took control. With less than a minute to play, the Sting picked up a loose puck along the boards in the Windsor end. They set-up their players and put pressure on the Spits. Charles Sarault then sent a slap-pass to Daniel Nikandrov in the slot. He let a shot go around a diving Nick Ebert, and under Pavelka’s arm for the goal. With 12.3 seconds left, the arena sat in shock. The rest of the game clock ticked down as the Spitfires looked on in disbelief, and lost to the Sting 2-1.

Playoff Chase

As a result of Thursday night’s loss, the Spitfires remain seven points out of a playoff spot, behind the Saginaw Spirit. Thankfully, Saginaw lost its game Thursday night. The Spits have a tough task ahead of them this weekend, facing the Spirit in back-to-back games. Windsor travels to Saginaw Saturday night, and returns home for a Monday night game.

Puck drop Monday night is 6:05pm.

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