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Sunday December 29th, 2013

Posted at 7:36am

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Before the two teams face off at Comerica Park as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival, the Windsor Spitfires and Saginaw Spirit battled it out inside the WFCU Centre. Against their western conference rivals, the Spitfires showed them why they are a force to be reckoned with. Dalen Kuchmey stopped 33 of 34 shots to lead Windsor to a 4-1 victory over Saginaw.

The Spitfires took flight early when Steven Janes found a loose puck at the top of the crease. He spun around and slapped it past Nikita Serebryakov. Windsor went up by two with a goal from Nikita Yazkov. Josh Ho-Sang faked a slap-shot and skated around the defender. He put the puck on the net, and Yazkov skated in for the rebound. With the first period in the books, Windsor was up 2-0.

Saginaw came onto the ice for the second period focused. The Spirit controlled the puck, beat the Spits to loose ones and set up some opportunistic plays. It paid off for the visitors as they scored to cut the lead in half. Jesse Graham dished it off to Justin Kea, and he fired the puck past Kuchmey. The Spitfires slowed the pace a little and regrouped as the two teams tried for the next goal. After some chances, Windsor got the upper hand. Standing in front of the goalie, Remy Giftopoulos grabbed a slow shot from the point and spun a backhand into the net. Nearing the period’s end, the Spits would look to take a two-goal lead to the locker room. Fortunately, they would extend their lead. While shorthanded, Brady Vail intercepted a pass between the defensemen and sprung free on a breakaway. He drew the goaltender out just enough to slide the puck between the legs. Windsor was leading 4-1 after two periods. The Spirit held a 21-10 shot advantage in the second.

Although the third period was scoreless, there was still much action on the ice. Within the first couple of minutes, Giftopoulos and Jacob Ringuette went toe-to-toe. The two landed strong shots before Giftopoulos rocked Ringuette with a right-hand. Physical presence became more and more evident. A little over five minutes passed when a Spirit player rushed to check a Spitfire into the boards. At the last second, he dodged the charging Saginaw forward as glass shattered into the visitors’ penalty box. Later, Vail went into the boards head first following a big check from Terry Trafford.

The Spitfires just killed the clock after that. They let time wind down and beat the Spirit 4-1.

Windsor outshot Saginaw in the third 15-4.

The Spits’ next game is New Year’s Eve, this Tuesday afternoon at 2:05.

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