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Sunday February 24th, 2013

Posted at 9:08pm

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In a stunning turn of events, the Windsor Spitfires have fired back. After a 9-1 rout Friday night in Plymouth, there was concern that the same fate would be repeated. However, the Spits responded with vengeance. The team scored four unanswered goals in 3:55 in the second period, and held on for the victory. Windsor won a wild one over the Plymouth Whalers by a score of 6-5 Sunday afternoon, at the WFCU Centre.

Windsor’s lineup remained depleted for Sunday’s game, plagued by injuries and suspension. It didn’t seem to matter for the young Spitfires though.

Windsor came out of the gates for the first period with purpose. The team almost scored when the puck hit the post. At the other end, Jaroslav Pavelka made incredible saves to keep the game scoreless. The pressure finally got to the Spitfires, unfortunately. Following a scrambled flurry of blocks by Windsor, a shot from the point found its way in front of Pavelka’s pads. The puck was put in by Tom Wilson for his first of two goals. The Whalers nearly went up by two, but Alex Aleardi swept the puck away as it approached the goal line. At this juncture of the game, Plymouth controlled. After twenty minutes, the Whalers had a 1-0 lead, and commanded a 17-4 shot advantage.

Shortly into the second, the Whalers added another goal to go up 2-0. Rickard Rakell picked up a loose puck and fired a fast wrist-shot past Pavelka. Exactly five minutes later though, the Spits began their onslaught. Who better to start that sequence of scoring than former Whaler Alex Aleardi? Entering the zone 2-on-2, Emerson Clark threw a pass to Aleardi into the middle. He took a couple strides then lifted the puck over Matt Mahalak and into the top of the net. Less than two minutes later, the duo struck again. Aleardi let a snap-shot go and Clark put the rebound in. Not done yet, Alexander Khokhlachev crossed the blue line, settled the puck down and slapped it high over Mahalak’s blocker, giving the Spits a 3-2 lead. A minute later, Kerby Rychel tipped Zack Percy’s shot behind the goalie. Windsor chased Mahalak out of the net after its fourth straight goal; he was replaced by Alex Nedeljkovic. The Spitfires had another chance later in the period, however unsuccessful: Sebastian Uvira received a penalty when he tossed his stick heavily into the Windsor zone. The seconds ticked down, and Plymouth rushed up the ice one last time. Before the period’s end, Stefan Noesen scored on a speedy wrap-around. Windsor’s lead was reduced to one after two periods of play.

Plymouth pressured Windsor early in the third, just like it did in the previous periods. As a result, the Whalers tied the game at four, and even took over the lead. Tom Wilson and Mitchell Heard each scored off of rebounds before the midway point of the period to gain the 5-4 advantage. The Spits didn’t sit back though. They had the extra player following a Plymouth penalty. Only 14 seconds into the power-play, Aleardi’s wrist-shot went top corner to tie the score once more. The game’s intensity built, and eventually erupted when Windsor scored its sixth goal – the go-ahead goal – with 2:30 remaining in the third. After a pass from Aleardi, Brady Vail let a shot go through a screen, and the puck made its way to the back of the net. The 6038 fans inside the WFCU Centre exploded in cheers. Those same fans got little a scare later when Aleardi got called for high-sticking with 33 seconds to go. Constant pressure by the Whalers was countered by a solid Windsor defense. The Spitfires held on to fight off the Whalers 6-5.

At the end of the game, Jaroslav Pavelka looked at the scoreboard with an ecstatic smile.

With five points on the night (two goals, three assists), Alex Aleardi deservingly earned the game’s first star.

Windsor snapped Plymouth’s eight-game win streak, and will look to carry its momentum into their next game, when the Spitfires take on the London Knights. Game time is this Thursday, February 28th at 7:05pm.

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