‘Disappointing effort’ leaves Spitfires with back-to-back regulation losses for the first time since November

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In his first season as head coach of the Windsor Spitfires, Marc Savard has rarely spoken of distaste for his team’s performance.


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Early in the season, when players were adjusting to the new systems, there were losses, but it wasn’t often that Savard was upset by the effort.

That was not the case on Sunday when Sarnia Sting scored the game’s final five goals in a 6-2 victory over the Spitfires before 500 fans at the WFCU Center.

It ended Windsor’s seven-match winning streak at home and, along with Friday’s 5-1 loss in London, marked the first time the Spitfires had lost back-to-back games in regulation since Nov. 24-26.

“It’s a disappointing effort,” Savard said. “I just lost battles again, it’s two nights in a row, especially around our network. Five against five, we just haven’t been good enough. We just can’t wait for our power play to come out and score every time.”


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It was the power play that had the Spitfires in the game for almost two periods. Will Cuylle sandwiched power play goals around a Ben Lalkin goal for Sting, giving Windsor a 2-1 lead with seven minutes left in the second period.

“They came out very tough, much tougher than us, and they outplayed us,” Spitfires defenseman Andrew Perrott said of the Sting. “They just kept coming and coming. Collectively, we need to figure out how to wear down a team that’s coming at us.”

Late in the second period, Sting converted two harmless wrist shots from the spot in chaos in front of the Windsor net with Angus MacDonnell and Nolan DeGurse scoring to give Sarnia a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.

“The other big thing was being strong in front of our net, which we didn’t do at all,” Savard said. “We didn’t give (Matt) Onuska any help and I thought he was pretty good too.”


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While Onuska was dealing with traffic throughout the game, Sting’s goalkeeper Ben Guadreau had a clear view of most of the 28 shots he took. Not what the Spitfires needed against one of the best goalkeepers in the league, as life was easy for London’s Brett Brochu on Friday.

“We have to generate traffic in front of the net,” said Perrott, who had two assists. “(Gaudreau and Brochu) do a good job facing shots, facing pucks, they’re both very hard-working. They never give up on a play making a second, third or fourth effort to always save a puck. So for us, it’s important to have traffic, fight hard in their paint and bury those second, third and four efforts when they come.”

There just weren’t many of those fights created by the Spitfires and the few that did happen didn’t end up at the bottom of Sarnia’s web.


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“They’re both two of the best goalies in the league, but we still have to find ways to get the pucks to them,” said Spitfires center Wyatt Johnston, who had two assists. “Just make life difficult for them.”

Max Namestnikov and Nolan Burke scored 86 split seconds in the third period to put the Sting in control for a 5-2 lead with Theo Hill adding an empty goal to complete the scoring.

“Definitely pretty frustrated,” Johnston said. “Disappointed with our effort. That is a game we definitely need to win. We have to be able to get the two points there.”

While it was two key points for a team from Sarnia in a four-team fight for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference, it was a heartbreaking loss for a Windsor club holding hopes of a Western Division title.


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“You definitely look at the standings and we know where we are,” said Johnston, whose team is seven points behind first-place Sault Ste. Marie with four games in hand. “Each point means a ton at the moment.

“We still have a lot of games down the stretch and we still have a lot of time to make up points, but every point is important and it could come back to bite us later in the season if we don’t win these games.”

Windsor is free until Thursday, when the club takes on the Saginaw Spirit at the WFCU Center. Game time is at 7:30 pm

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game summary

Sunday result

Sting 6 Spitfires 2

Scabies 0 3 3 – 6

Windsor 1 1 0 – 2

First period: 1. Windsor, Cuylle 25 (Johnston, Perrott) 8:33 (pp). Sanctions: Maggio W (hit high) 1:21, McIntyre S (holding) 4:20, Romeo S (interference) 7:19, Miedema W (stumbling) 14:49.


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Second period: 2. Sarnia, Lalkin 2 (Filan, Malyavin) 9:43, 3. Windsor, Cuylle 26 (Perrott, Johnston) 12:56 (pp), 4. Sarnia, MacDonnell 3 (Pryce) 17:20, 5. Sarnia, DeGurse 12 (Daviault) 19:05. Sanctions: Ride W (holding) 5:58, Ritchie S (cutting) 11:43.

Third period: 6. Sarnia, Namestnikov 5 (Sikic, Ritchie) 6:05, 7. Sarnia, Burke 23 (Voit) 7:31, 8. Sarnia, Hill 11 (no help) 17:25 (en). Sanctions: McIntyre S (rudeness, unsportsmanlike conduct, misconduct), Ride W (unsportsmanlike conduct) 18:26.

Game Statistics – SOG – Scabies 5 9 13 – 27 Windsor 10 8 10 – 28 Goal (shots-stops) – Sarnia: Gaudreau (W,10-5-3-1) (28-26). Windsor: Onuska (I,2-4-0-0) (26-21). Power play (goals-chances) – Sarnia 0-3. Windsor 2-4. Referees: Chris Ferreira (14) and Mac Nichol (33). line judges: Kurtis Pare (70) and Tristan Peacock (93). TO.: 500 at the WFCU Center.


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