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WITH PHOTOS: Windsor Finishes The Year On High Note

Thursday December 31st, 2015, 7:32pm


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Photos by Tim Cornett/

What a way to close out the year. It was a dramatic bout Thursday afternoon between the Windsor Spitfires and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. In their last game of 2015, the Spitfires took it home. Gabriel Vilardi scored in the fifth round of the shootout to lift his team to a 3-2 victory inside the WFCU Centre.

The game quickly began in Windsor’s favour as the visitors were called for an early penalty. The Spitfires went right to work. Less than two minutes in, Brendan Lemieux added to his hot streak with a wicked wrist-shot. The goal sparked the players, and fired up the crowd. To keep the energy rising, the Spits scored three minutes later. Down in the Soo end, Gabriel Vilardi working his stick-handling wizardy before being brought down. He was still able to tap the puck to Hayden McCool in front. He made the nifty move and slipped the puck between the goalie’s pads. Windsor was certainly in control in the early stages of the game with strong presences up and down the ice. Heading into the first intermission, the Spitfires had a 2-0 lead.

Because of a penalty call at the end of the first, Windsor found itself down a man for four minutes. A double minor for high-sticking gave the Greyhounds a great opportunity. While on the powerplay, the Soo drew a second Spitfires penalty. As a result, the Greyhounds were on a 5-on-3 for nearly a full two minutes. The Spitfires kept a solid defense, and Michael DiPietro stayed cool in net, as the team fought off the penalties. The fans were really into Windsor’s dominant performance. Windsor was certainly on top of their game, up 2-0 heading into the third.

Up by a pair of goals, the Spitfires hoped for the exclamation point on what was a remarkable performance. The next goal went the other way, however, making it a one-goal game. Nearly seven minutes into the period, Colton White blasted a shot from the point that beat DiPietro’s glove. Within one, the Greyhounds began to pounce for the equalizer. As the puck bounced around between players in the slot, it squeaked out the right circle. Keigan Goetz scooped it up before spinning and firing a shot. The play fooled DiPietro and evened the game at two. The teams battled for the last five minutes, but the score remained the same. The Spitfires and the Greyhounds were tied at two, going into overtime.

In the extra frame, there was intense action at both ends. The two goalies stood tall and really worked hard to keep the score even. Speedy rushes weren’t enough to settle the score. When the clock ran out, the two Western Conference teams prepped for a shootout.

In the one-on-one battles, DiPietro made an outstanding glove save to keep the shootout rounds at bay. Next, Logan Brown made a nice forehand-backhand move to grab the advantage. To counter, Gustav Bouramman put a chip shot over the glove and evened it out. After another round, Vilardi finished off the game. He sped in on net and drew the goalie out. He then managed to tuck the puck between the pad and the post to roars all around the arena. DiPietro made the follow up save to close out the game and secure the win. In excellent fashion, Windsor defeated Sault Ste. Marie 3-2 in a shootout.

The Spitfires return this Sunday to play the Saginaw Spirit at the WFCU Centre at 2:05pm.

Photos by Tim Cornett/

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