Inconsistent Spitfires unable to recover from four goal deficit in 6-5 loss to Spirit

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Friday was the start of the second quarter of the Windsor Spitfires’ schedule and many of the problems that plagued the team in the 17 games of the first quarter were visible again.


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After a solid opening period, the Spitfires all but disappeared in the second period and the Saginaw Spirit scored five answered goals and finally escaped with a 6-5 victory before a crowd of 3,326 at the WFCU Center.

“Overall, as a team, we’re just looking for that consistency,” Spitfires head coach Marc Savard said when asked before the game what his hopes were for the second 17-game segment.

Windsor outscored Spirit in the first 20 minutes to take a 2-1 lead in the locker room, but had only one shot in the 15 minutes of play in the second period where Saginaw outscored the Spitfires 12-5.

“We’re seeing a lot of development in the right direction, it’s the breakdowns and they’re so obvious,” Savard said. “When are we going to figure that out and make the right decision?”


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Early Friday, things looked promising. After Saginaw’s Camaryn Baber went unmarked on the edge of the fold to open the marker, the Spitfires responded. Kyle McDonald scored on a power play from Windsor, who has had much better puck movement in recent games, to tie the game.

“I think the power play is going in the right direction,” Savard said.

Rookie Ethan Martin, son of former Spitfires captain Mike Martin, scored his first goal at OHL in just his second game with the team. The club’s fourth-round pick this year made a quick pitch into the slot on a Daniel D’Amico broadcast.

But the second period was an entirely different story with the Spitfires carelessly controlling at best and unable to make a big save.


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After Windsor defender Nathan Ribau was injured on the boards, play was allowed to continue and three Spirit players converged on Windsor’s net with Matyas Sapovaliv tying the game.

A nifty pullback behind Calem Mangone found Evan Klein just up front to put Spirit forever at 3-2. Mitchell Smith’s goal chased after rookie Spitfire goalkeeper Kyle Downey after allowing four goals on just 12 shots.

Things weren’t much better for backup Matt Tovell, who replaces injured goalkeeper Xavier Medina. Pavel Mintyukov scored after walking around two Windsor players and Josh Bloom added a goal on short to put Spirit up 6-2 after 40 minutes.

Intending to erase a four-goal deficit for the second time in three games, the Spitfires scored goals from Matthew Maggio, Wyatt Johnston and D’Amico in just over seven minutes to turn it into a one-goal game.


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“The identity of our team is evident in that we do not give up and that is an advantage,” said Savard, whose team had a 14-2 advantage in shooting in the third period and 30-19 overall. “We won’t give up until the bell rings.”

If only the Spitfires could figure out how not to go crazy and go back to the games at the end.

With a late power play opportunity and Tovell on the bench for a sixth skater, the Spitfires failed to produce the tying goal and fell for the seventh time in 11 home games this season.

Headed to Saginaw on Saturday, the Spitfires are now one point behind the Spirit for second place in the Western Division.

Spits out bits

Spitfires rookie forward Ethan Miedema received an assist on Friday as his white team opened the capital city in Ottawa with a 7-3 victory for the Canadian women’s national team.


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The Spitfires got a little healthier Friday with Maggio, who had three points, back in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s game against London. Medina, who has missed the last seven games, remains offside along with defenders Daniil Sobolev, Bronson Ride and James Jodoin.

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Game Summary

Friday result

Spirit 6 Spitfires 5

Saginaw 1 5 0 – 6

Windsor 2 0 3-5

First period: 1. Saginaw, Baber 6 (Codd, Mintyukov) 3:32, 2. Windsor, McDonald 11 (Zito, Henault) 10:07 (pp), 3. Windsor, Martin 1 (D’Amico, Maggio) 11:09. Penalties: Renwick W (interference) 3:42, Schlueting S (cutting) 9:58, Baber S (roughing) 14:46, Renwick W (holding) 17:55.

Second period: 4. Saginaw, Sapovaliv 5 (Loukus) 4:36, 5. Saginaw, Klein 2 (Mangone, Duhart) 6:43, 6. Saginaw, Smith 2 (Mangone, Forgione) 13:08, 7. Saginaw, Mintyukov 3 ( Gervais, Mancini) 14:24, 8. Saginaw, Bloom 13 (Smith) 19:07 (sh). Penalties: Loukus S (interference) 17:16.


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Third period: 9. Windsor, May 7 (Abraham) 3:38 (pp), 10. Windsor, Johnston 11 (May, De Angelis) 4:57, 11. Windsor, D’Amico 4 (no assistance) 7:07. Penalties: Loukus S (holding) 1:44, Sapovaliv S (stumbling) 7:48, Loukus S (cutting major, game misconduct) 17:44.

Game Statistics – SOG – Saginaw 5 12 2 – 19 Windsor 12 4 14 – 30 Goal (shot-saves) – Saginaw: Oke (W, 5-3-1-0) (30-25). Windsor: Downey (L, 3-4-0-0) (12-8), Tovell (13:08 of the second period) (7-5). Power play (goals-chances) – Saginaw 0-2. Windsor 2-6. Referees: Chris Chapman (30) and Jason Faist (5). Linesmen: Kyle Flood (66) and Tristan Peacock (93). For: 3,326 at the WFCU Center.


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