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Friday February 26th, 2016

Posted at 8:01am

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Already playoff bound, the Windsor Spitfires are now trying to move their way up the Western Conference ladder. With tough teams ahead of them, the Spits knew they had to fight against a strong Barrie Colts team. When it came down to it, they did just that. Windsor held off the Colts in a 4-2 victory Thursday night at the WFCU Centre.

The edge first went to Windsor as the Spits powered into the Barrie zone time after time. They instigated plenty of pressure, even drawing a penalty. While the referee’s arm up, an extra skater headed onto the ice. With the upper hand, the Spitfires were executing excellent passes from player to player to player. Eventually, the pressure became too much for the Colts. With slick stickhandling, Logan Brown skated between defenders. Down low, he slid a pass across the crease to Gabriel Vilardi. The rookie put the puck in and gave his team an early 1-0 lead. Almost six minutes later, Barrie tied the game. Dylan Sadowy entered Windsor’s zone with the puck. He skated into the slot, and timed his shot perfectly. He waited until players crossed in front of the goalie before firing a shot. The puck beat Mario Culina low and the goal evened the game. All squared up, the teams picked up the physicality and laid on some heavy hits throughout the period. Seconds remained before the buzzer sounded when Windsor struck again. Breaking in on a 3-on-2, Bradley Latour got a pass and fired a shot from the right hash-marks. Goalie David Ovsjannikov made the initial stop, and the puck rolled back to the right. Latour threw a backhand pass toward the crease, and Aaron Luchuk finished off the play as he tapped it in. The Spitfires took a 2-1 lead to the locker room for the first intermission.

Windsor’s presence was known in the second period. The Spitfires fired the first eight shots of the middle frame and continued to carry the momentum. However, in the Windsor end, the Colts scored the equalizer with their first shot of the period. Kevin Labanc got around a defender and was wide open in front. When he got the puck, he simply slid it under the goalie’s glove and across the line. The game wouldn’t remain tied for too long. Barrie ended up taking back-to-back penalties, giving Windsor a 5-on-3 advantage. Though they were unsuccessful on the first infraction, the Spitfires made good on the second. Logan Brown skated into the slot area and let a snapshot go that deflected off of a diving Barrie defender’s legs and over a downed goalie. Things heated up late in the period as a Colts player snowed Culina on his way to the net, to the dismay of the players on ice. Once the scuffles somewhat settled down, the teams finished the period. The Spits were up by one, leading 3-2. In the period, Windsor doubled its shots, while allowing only two.

The pressure was in Barrie’s favour to start the third. The Colts had chances in Windsor’s zone, but couldn’t get past the defense. The fans were behind the Spitfires. They were hyped up and cheering as their team was fighting to maintain the lead. Up and down the ice, the teams exchanged opportunities. Only a couple minutes were left when Barrie pulled its goalie. for a little bit, the Colts got close. Once the Spitfires cleared the puck, though, it was game over. With less than a minute to go, Brendan Lemieux finally scored his goal against his former team. The forward had been trying all night, and struck in the last seconds of the game. The goal capped off an excellent effort by the Spitfires as they went on to beat the Barrie Colts 4-2.

Windsor’s next game at the WFCU Centre is Saturday, March 5th at 7:05pm against the North Bay Battalion.

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