Spitfires rally for much-needed win over Otters in overtime

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With a sigh of relief, the Windsor Spitfires rode home with a much-needed split of back-to-back road games in Erie against the Otters on Saturday.

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In the two games, the Spitfires held a lead just once. That came on captain Will Cuylle’s game-winning goal in overtime on Saturday to rally the club for a 5-4 win at Erie Insurance Arena.

“They were tough, for sure,” said Spitfires’ forward Matthew Maggio, who scored late on a Windsor power play with the goalie on the bench to force overtime.

“All year, Erie has been tough competition for us and especially with a three (games) in three (days) schedule, We knew it was going to be a challenge.”

The win snapped Windsor’s five-game losing skid on the road and marked the team’s first win away from home since Jan. 28.

“I’m not worried about it,” Spitfires’ head coach Marc Savard said of the team’s recent road struggles. “It’s not haunting us and it’s not like we can’t play on the road.”

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It was just Windsor’s second win in five meetings with the Otters this season and both of the club’s victories have come in overtime.

“I’m proud of the guys,” Savard said. “What a win.”

Windsor never held a lead in Friday’s 6-4 loss to the Otters and Saturday was another game where the club was forced to chase much of the game.

Noah Sedore had the Otters on the scoreboard just 39 seconds into the game on a wrist shot from the circle that beat Windsor goalie Matt Onuska.

OHL scoring leader Wyatt Johnston, who had three points, pulled the Spitfires even by the end of the first period by tapping home a rebound.

Erie’s Nathan Sauder and Carey Terrance scored to put the Spitfires in a 3-1 hole less than seven minutes into the second period.

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“Just a couple of defensive breakdowns, but we stuck with it,” Savard said. “We felt good about our game and we stayed with our game plan.”

Alex Christopoulos forced a turnover and got the Spitfires back within a goal just 99 seconds after Terrance’s goal and defenseman Daniil Sobolev’s shot from the point found its way behind Erie goalie Nolan Lalonde to tie the game at 3-3 after 40 minutes.

As the teams were exiting the ice at intermission, Windsor’s Andrew Perrott and Erie’s Cameron Morton dropped the gloves. Perrott was given the instigator on the play and also a game misconduct by officials, who felt he left the bench to get involved. Savard said Perrott was merely trying to exit the ice. League officials will review the play.

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Brendan Sellan put the Otters back up just after the instigator penalty expired to give Erie a 4-3 lead.

“Obviously, we don’t like to play from behind, but I feel like, with the group we have, there’s a sense of no panic and no quit,” Maggio said. “In the locker room, it’s a positive atmosphere Even when we’re behind, we know we have the talent to come back.”

With a late power play and Onuska on the bench for a six-on-four advantage, Maggio beat Lalonde from the faceoff circle to force overtime.

“That late in the game, I think the focus on the power play is getting pucks to the net,” Maggio said. “I knew Cuylle and (Daniel) D’Amico were going to be doing their job screening the goalie and I just had to get it there.”

Off a faceoff in overtime, two Erie players went at Johnston, who made a perfect feed to a wide-open Cuylle in front for the winner.

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“We’re a team that never wants to drop two in a row, especially when the conference is so tight,” Maggio said. “Every game, from now on, we are coming into it with a must-win attitude.”

The Spitfires remain on the road for a Tuesday match in Sarnia against the Sting. Game time is 7:05 pm

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Game Summary

Saturday Result

Spitfires 5 Otters 4 (OT)

Windsor 1 2 1 1 – 5

Series 1 2 1 0 – 4

Firstperiod: 1. Erie, Sedore 13 (Lockhart) :39, 2. Windsor, Johnston 32 (Cuylle, Zito) 4:40 p.m. Penalties: None.

Secondperiod: 3. Erie, Sauder 2 (Hoffmann, Bressette) 3:29, 4. Erie, Terrance 6 (Kyrou, Morton) 6:56, 5. Windsor, Christopoulos 9 (unassisted) 8:35, 6. Windsor. Sobolev 2 (Zito) 13:13. Penalties: Abraham W (holding) 4:17, Currie W (roughing), Morton E (roughing) 10:45, Henault W (roughing), Lockhart E (roughing) 14:33, Perrott W (instigator, fighting, misconduct, game misconduct ), Morton E (fighting) 8:00 p.m.

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Third period: 7. Erie, Sellan 18 (Sedore, Saganiuk) 2:04, 8. Windsor, Maggio 28 (Henault, Johnston) 17:29 (pp). Penalties: Hoffmann E (slashing) 4:08, Ride W (holding) 13:10, Saganiuk E (high sticking) 16:29.

Overtime: 9. Windsor, Cuylle 31 (Johnston) 2:35. Penalties: None.

Game stats – SOG – Windsor 12 11 11 2 – 36Erie 2 14 9 0 – 25 Goal (shots-saves) – Windsor: Onuska (W, 9-4-1-1) (25-21). Erie: Lalonde (L,21-18-2-1) (36-31). Power play (goals-chances) – Windsor 1-2. Eries 0-3. Referees: Pat Myers (40) and Raymond King (95). Linesmen: Tommy Hughes (45) and Matt Mannella (85). Att.: NA at Erie Insurance Arena.


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