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No, it certainly wasn’t pretty and that really shouldn’t have been a big surprise.

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Despite all the talk from the Windsor Spitfires that the club was ready to play Thursday’s home opener against Sarnia Sting, there is actually still some work to be done.

There was a lot of nervousness on the part of the first-year players and with 10 new players on the roster, it was obvious the chemistry still has a long way to go after the Spitfires’ 6-3 loss to the Sting before 2,952 in the WFCU Center.

“I think it’s normal,” said Spitfires center Pasquale Zito. “We have a lot of new guys, we had a lot of guys in (NHL) camps and we’re trying to build chemistry. We just didn’t show what we wanted. “

Mistakes made by rookie defenders Bronson Ride and Nicholas DeAngelis were turned into goals by Sarnia’s Theo Hill and Ryder McIntyre and the Sting were up 2-0 with less than six minutes left.

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“A couple of breakdowns on our end and they end up in our net,” said Spitfires head coach Marc Savard. “It’s a growing pain and obviously they’re little kids and they’re not trying to do the wrong thing. It’s just a bit of bad luck and we have to help them improve. “

Meanwhile, Sting’s goalkeeper Benjamin Gaudreau was making it difficult for the Spitfires to get back into the game. Sarnia led 2-0 after the opening period despite 15-8.

“I think at one point, the shots were 25-9,” Savard said. “You have to give his goalkeeper credit early. He kept them in the early game. “

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One part of Windsor’s game that was working Thursday was the team’s power play with Zito connecting for a pair of goals in the second period with the man advantage to finally draw the Spitfires even more than 33 minutes into the game.

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“It’s good for sure and it gives us a lot of energy,” Zito said of the power play. “We worked on it a bit before the game and I thought we had executed it.”

After all the work to re-equalize, Sarnia needed just 47 seconds to finally regain the lead, as Nolan Burke got credit for a deflected goal that floated over Windsor goalkeeper Xavier Medina and entered.

“It’s frustrating to be down 2-0 and I thought we competed hard and didn’t get some rebounds,” Zito said.

When Nolan Dann converted another defensive error by Windsor into a 4-2 Sarnia lead early in the third period, life back seemed to run out of Spitfire’s bench.

“I’m sure there was a lot of nervousness,” Zito said. “We have to build on that and (the chemistry) comes from practice and conversation on ice.

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“We didn’t get the rebounds we wanted, but we came back and did our best and (Friday) a new game.”

Burke’s second goal chased Medina from the net and Hill scored his second of the game against rookie Kyle Downey before Spitfires first-round pick Ethan Miedema closed the scoring.

“The roof is not caving in,” said Savard, whose team is in Sarnia on Friday for a rematch with the Sting. “It’s a good lesson to learn and we move on.”

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Game Summary

Thursday result

Stinger 6 Spitfires 3

Sarnia 2 1 3-6

Windsor 0 2 1-3

First period: 1. Sarnia, Hill 1 (O’Donnell, Reesor) 3:23, 2. Sarnia, McIntyre 1 (unassisted) 5:38. Penalty fee: O’Donnell S (hooking) 6:55.

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Second period: 3. Windsor, Zito 1 (McDonald, Robinson) 2:41 (pp), 4. Windsor, Zito 2 (Cuylle, Robinson) 13:19 (pp), 5. Sarnia, Burke 1 (Hill) 14:06. Penalties: Dillingham S (holding): 58, Deputy S (stumbling) 11:59.

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Third period: 6. Sarnia, Dann 1 (Geci) 3:02, 7. Sarnia, Burke 2 (Malyavin) 4:15, 8. Sarnia, Hill 2 (McIntyre, Reesor) 11:16, 9. Windsor, Miedema 1 (McDonald, Renwick) 16:08. Penalties: Geci S (roughing), Ladd W (roughing), O’Flaherty W (goalkeeper inference) 18:54, Johnston W (holding) 19:16.

Game Statistics – SOG – Sarnia 8 3 20 – 31 Windsor 15 12 5 – 32 Goal (shot-saves) – Sarnia: Gaudreau (G, 1-0-0-0) (32-29). Windsor: Medina (L, 0-1-0-0) (22-17), Downey (7:16 of the third period) (9-8). Power play (goals-chances) – Sarnia 0-2. Windsor 2-3. Referees: Jason Faist (5) and Chris Ferreira (14). Linesmen: Brad Horan (75) and Geoff Rutherford (64). For: 2,952 at the WFCU Center.

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Reference-windsorstar.com

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