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Friday February 19th, 2016

Posted at 6:34am

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Tim Cornett/WindsorSpitfires.com

The Windsor Spitfires welcomed the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to the WFCU Centre, but certainly hoped for a better outcome. Without Brendan Lemieux in the lineup, the Spits had to dig deep to push past the Greyhounds. Instead, a three-goal third period insured victory for the visitors. The Spitfires were defeated 4-1 Thursday night.

It’s been eight years, but the memory remained. Thursday night, Mickey’s family made their way onto the ice to a warm welcome from the crowd. The fans, the players, the coaches, and everyone inside the WFCU Centre shared in honouring the memory of their late captain.

Windsor led the first with speed and energy. Early on, a Spitfire laid out a Greyhound to the delight of the crowd. There was plenty of offense from the Spits, though no shots made it past the goalie. They had the advantage after the first, outshooting Sault Ste. Marie 14-4. The Greyhounds got out of the first period unscathed, as the teams took a scoreless period to the locker room.

In the second, the chances were there for Windsor. Sault Ste. Marie took a few penalties thoughout the period, but couldn’t capitalize. The Greyhounds, on the other hand, did – shorthanded. A little over seven minutes in, Bobby MacIntyre picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone. He then broke into Windsor’s end on a 2-on-1. He opted to shoot and beat Michael DiPietro blocker side. The rest of the period would remain goalless, but the visitors got the one that counted. After 40 minutes, the Spits were down 1-0.

With a period to go, Windsor needed to bounce back. Connor Chatham had an excellent opportunity early off of a turnover. He had a short breakaway, but a pad save from the goaltender kept the Spits at bay. That was until minutes later, when Chatham would strike again. This time, he made sure the puck found the back of the net. Mikhail Sergachev blasted a shot toward the net that was blockered away. Airborne, the puck bounced off of Chatham and fell to the ice in the blue paint. The Spits forward swatted the puck across the line to even the game at one. Windsor’s offense went back to work, pressing for the go-ahead goal. However, the action was at the other end as the Greyhounds took a 2-1 lead. Blake Spears skated for the loose puck in the slot and faked a slapshot. He fired a low shot on the blocker side that surprised DiPietro. Less than two minutes later, MacIntyre scored his second of the night as his shot went off of a defender’s stick. The puck floated up and over the goalie’s glove and in. time ticked down too fast for the Spitfires to do anything. Soon, they realized the game was out of reach with just seconds to go. The Greyhounds added an empty net goal as time ran out to wrap up the game. Sault Ste. Marie handed Windsor a 4-1 loss.

The Spits are back at the WFCU Centre this Sunday, February 21st to face the Hamilton Bulldogs in the second game of a home-and-home series. Puck drop is 2:05pm.

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