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Friday October 16th, 2015

Posted at 6:15am

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Photos by: Tim Cornett/WindsorSpitfires.com

A loss is never easy to handle. Thursday night, in Windsor, the Spitfires welcomed the Ottawa 67s and looked to continue their impressive play. The back-and-forth game couldn’t be settled in regulation, so the teams took to overtime. Austen Keating scored his second of the night on a breakaway to give the visiting 67s a 4-3 win over the Spitfires.

Following the hot start to the season, Windsor was ranked 10th in the CHL.

The Spitfires had an incredible burst of speed to start the game. They moved well up and down the ice. Their defensive game was strong, and their offensive units produced opportunities for a goal – a goal scored early from none other than Cristiano DiGiacinto. The star forward has been on a roll as of late, and once again, he did not disappoint his fans. Tyler Nother sent a pass down low, beside the net. A one-touch pass from Cole Carter found DiGiacinto skating into the slot, and the rest is history. He slapped it home to grab a 1-0 lead. The 67s narrowly evened the game a bit later after ringing the puck off the post, but Windsor remained on top. Its rushes were crisp and created chances. Ottawa’s defensive teams protected their goalie when the Spits got in close and kept the puck out. After 20 minutes, Windsor had itself a 1-0 lead.

The visitors picked up the pace in the second and quickly began to take control. The 67s put plenty of pressure on the Spitfires, but Windsor’s defense stood tall – for the time being. Ottawa managed to get one past the goalie a little over seven minutes in. The 67s gained position down low, and Austen Keating slapped away at the puck. Before long, the puck made its way up and over the blocker of Michael Giugovaz. Windsor was quick to respond, though; the team took back its lead a minute and a half later. Speeding into the zone, three Spitfires found themselves on a short 3-on-1. Anthony Stefano took the initial shot, but the rebound bounced out to the left. Hayden McCool was there to pick up the pieces and shoot the puck into the open net. The go-ahead goal didn’t disturb the Ottawa 67s too much. They were able to once again tie the game; this time, on the powerplay. Travis Konecny, from the circle, slid a pass to Dante Salituro. He waited patiently and picked his moment. His shot went between his teammate’s legs and into the back of the net. When time ticked down, the period ended in a 2-2 standstill.

In the third, the takeover continued for the opposition. The 67s were using their speed to tire out the Spits and put up some good chances. They were cycling well down low. At one point, an Ottawa player knocked Giugovaz over behind the net. The fans wanted a call, but play continued. Shortly thereafter, the 67s grabbed their first lead of the game, thanks to Sam Studnicka. A shot from the top of the circle was tipped in front by the tall forward as Ottawa went up 3-2. The visitors seemed one step faster than the Spits. Though the 67s had the edge, Windsor pressed on. After coming close a couple of times, the team connected on a somewhat broken play. DiGiacinto centered a pass to Gabriel Vilardi. A defender swatted the puck, but Vilardi quickly regained control. He threw a pass out front to a streaking Daniel Beaudoin who easily tapped it up across the goal line. With just over four minutes left, the Spits tied the game. The score would stay locked at 3 as the teams prepped for overtime.

It became a possession game in overtime with the newly installed 3-on-3 overtime. The teams had plenty of skating room and speed was a factor. The Spitfires were very close numerous times. Their passing plays down low created many chances but goalie Leo Lazarev kept his team in it. Unfortunately, Windsor was caught when the defenseman found Austen Keating alone at the Spitfires’ blue line. He skated in hastily and beat Giugovaz glove side with a wicked wrist-shot. The Ottawa 67s came out with the 4-3 overtime victory over the Windsor Spitfires.

The Spits aren’t in action at the WFCU Centre until Sunday, October 25th when they host the London Knights at 2:05pm.

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