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Michael DiPietro stood in his net following the final buzzer with his head down and his spirits deflated. The expression summed up Windsor’s afternoon perfectly. The Spitfires had nothing to show after sixty minutes of hockey – except a loss. They were shutout 3-0 by the Niagara Ice Dogs Sunday at the WFCU Centre.
A penalty-filled first period – and game, for that matter – set quite the undertone for the day. The spitfires played nearly half the period shorthanded, and it cost them. The Ice Dogs were able to capitalize with the extra player and grab a 1-0 lead. Graham Knott picked up the puck to the left of goalie Michael DiPietro and sent a pass into the slot. It was received by Anthony DiFruscia and he made no mistake of firing it straight to the back of the net. Other than the goal, neither team seemed able to build much drive because of the infractions. Nonetheless, the visitors were up 1-0 after one.
When the second period came around, Windsor was looking for the equalizer. The Spits had a couple of chances here and there, but they had a hard time getting organized. A 5-on-3 powerplay was ineffective as they spent too much time setting up a play; one too many passes killed plenty of time. The teams were back to full strength late in the period, and the Ice Dogs would add a second goal. Former Spitfire Josh Ho-Sang circled the outside of the Windsor zone before finding Vince Dunn skating in. Dunn put the puck in to give his team a two-goal lead with 24 seconds left in the second. With 40 minutes gone, Niagara was up 2-0.
The pace was slowed down to start the third period. the chances still came, mostly for the Ice Dogs, but the Spitfires tried for a goal. It was fairly quiet until the midway point, when the teams would fight and let loose. Cristiano DiGiacinto was in the middle of it all, and was handed significant penalties: 2 minutes for instigating, 5 for fighting, with both a 10-minute and a game-misconduct. He was able to get some shots in before being mauled by a pair of Ice Dogs. The teams skated away barely scathed, but the loss of DiGiacinto would hurt the Spits. Niagara was able to draw another penalty later in the period. Once again, the team struck on the man-advantage. In similar fashion to the two previous goals, Dunn scored his second of the game from point-blank range, in the slot. With the third goal, the Spits let the clock wind down. Windsor lost their second straight, this time 3-0 at the hands of the Niagara Ice Dogs.
The Spits will regroup and return to the WFCU Centre Friday night to play the Saginaw Spirit at 7:05pm.