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Thursday March 17th, 2016

Posted at 11:12pm

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Tim Cornett/WindsorSpitfires.com

In a Thursday night warm-up to the opening round, the Windsor Spitfires welcomed the Kitchener Rangers to the WFCU Centre. It was a thrilling, high-scoring matchup, and Windsor overcame the odds. The Spitfires defeated the visiting Rangers 6-4.

No time wasted for the Windsor Spitfires. It took the team just 17 seconds to get on the board. Jalen Chatfield rushed in for a tough angle shot on the goaltender. He couldn’t control the rebound as Logan Brown slapped the puck over the left pad. The miscue put Windsor up seconds in. Nearly four minutes later, though, the Rangers tied the game. Entering the Windsor zone with the puck, David Miller dropped it back for Darby Llewellyn. He timed his shot just right with the screen as Mario Culina couldn’t see the puck go by. The Spitfires didn’t fret; they continued to play their game. Eventually, they struck again – this time, on the powerplay. It was none other than Mikhail Sergachev at the blue line. His wrist shot from the point went straight in. the Russian star celebrated with a dab after he put his team up 2-1. The score would remain the same until the end of the first period.

A busy second period started fairly early as the visitors tied the game once more. Miles Liberati got past the defenders, so it was easy to find him with the puck. Liberati made a forehand-backhand move and slid the puck between Culina’s legs for the equalizer. The teams went back and forth and created good chances. The best came for the Spits as they capitalized for another goal. Brown patiently waited out the Kitchener unit before sending a pass to Christian Fischer, who made his behind the defense. Similarly to Kitchener’s second goal, he made a backhand-forehand move and lifted the puck to the back of the net. Less than a minute later, from the top of the right circle, Dylan Di Perna beat Culina blocker side. Windsor was ready, though. To follow the pattern, the Spits came back to regain their two-goal lead. Gabriel Vilardi dangled between skaters and defenders before cutting in or a chance on the goalie. He managed to swat in the rebound before the goalie could smother it. Eight seconds later, the Spitfires were back at it again. Sergachev sent the puck to the crease, and Mads Eller was there to poke it across the goal line and in. four straight whistles resulted in four quick goals as there was no break in the action. After 40 minutes, Windsor led 5-3.

It was a fast-paced third period, just as it had been all game. Kitchener was able to come within one midway through the period. Doug Blaisdell found David Miller in the slot, and Culina couldn’t extend his pads on time as the Rangers made it a one-goal game. Time was winding down late in the period. Kitchener was trying to pull all the stops for the equalizer. Trying to send the game to overtime, the visiting goaltender headed to the bench. The Rangers had control in the Windsor zone, but Fischer put a stop to that. He picked up the puck, banked it off the boards and it slid down the ice, into the open net. When the buzzer sounded, the Spitfires celebrated their 6-4 victory over the Kitchener Rangers.

Windsor’s next game is Game 3 of the first round, which takes place Monday, March 28th at 7:05pm against Kitchener.

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