Spitfires unable to close out series as Sting score overtime win to send series back to Sarnia

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A good effort by the Windsor Spitfires simply wasn’t good enough.

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The top-seeded Spitfires dominated play, but could not close out the club’s Western Conference quarter-final series with the eighth-seeded Sarnia Sting on Saturday.

Windsor outshot Sarnia 45-23, but the Sting slipped away with a 3-2 win in overtime before a crowd of 4,474 at the WFCU Centre. That sends the series back to Sarnia for Game 6 on Sunday with Windsor leading the best-of-seven series 3-2.

“I thought, for the most part, we played a really solid game,” Spitfires’ head coach Marc Savard said. “We didn’t give up much.

“I thought, in overtime, we brought it to another level. You win some, you lose some.”

Sting goalie Ben Gaudreau was the difference. The former first-round pick made 43 saves, but also got some luck in overtime.

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Defenseman Michael Renwick drilled a shot off the crossbar at the start of the extra frame and forward Matthew Maggio picked off Gaudreau’s clearing pass along the boards and whipped a shot at the open cage. The Sting goalie just got back in time to get a glove on the puck and keep it from going in the net.

“It was close,” Maggio said. “I just saw Gaudreau go for a rim and I knew it was going to come to my forehand and I threw it on net. It looked close. If it was a save, it was a great save.”

The Sting got the winner at 8:21 of overtime with Ty Voit fighting off a check and scoring on a partial breakaway.

“As a group, we’ve already talked about it and put it in the past,” Spitfires’ overage defenseman Andrew Perrott said. “(Sunday’s) a new day and we just need more desperation. Everyone needs to bring something extra (Sunday).”

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Saturday started promising for the Spitfires. Perrott scored on Windsor’s first power-play opportunity of the game. It was just the second goal in 21 chances with the man advantage this series for Windsor, who failed to convert on another four more chances in the game.

Oliver Peer beat Gaudreau, but hit the post and rookie Ryan Abraham appeared to have Windsor’s second power-play goal of the period, but it was called off on review for an offside.

“I think, after that first goal, Gaudreau stood on his head,” Perrott said.

Nolan DeGurse scored on a Sarnia power play and came back with another just 42 seconds later to give the Sting a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.

“Tough first series for us and we have a lot of guys that have never played OHL playoff games before this series and a lot don’t have much (league) experience either and they’re learning as we go along,” Perrott said.

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Captain Will Cuylle’s short-handed goal would get the Spitfires to overtime, but the club couldn’t close things out.

“It’s game of bounces and luck and (Saturday) we were so close,” Maggio said. “It came down to bounces and they got that play at the end and made it count. We had a lot of chances to make it count and didn’t get it done.”

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Game Summary

Saturday Result

Sting 3 Spitfires 2 (OT)

Scabies 0 2 0 1 – 3

Windsor 1 0 1 0 – 2

Firstperiod: 1. Windsor, Perrott 2 (Abraham, Renwick) 2:08 (pp). Penalties: MacDonald S (hooking) 1:40, Filak S (high sticking) 17:55.

Secondperiod: 2. Sarnia, DeGurse 3 (Voit, Dann) 13:51 (pp), 3. Sarnia, DeGurse 4 (Sikic, Mast) 14:33. Penalties: Dann S (tripping) 7:57, Cuylle W (roughing) 9:00, McIntyre S (holding the stick) 9:46, Mailett W (slashing) 13:01, Hill S (roughing), Perrott W (roughing) 14 :11, D’Amico W (high sticking) 15:36.

Third period: 4. Windsor, Cuylle 4 (Johnston, Ribau) 6:31 (sh). Penalties: Ritchie S (high sticking) :38, Peer W (hooking) 5:16.

Overtime: 5. Sarnia, Voit 2 (MacDonell) 8:21. Penalties: None.

Game stats – SOG – Sarnia 4 9 5 5 – 23 Windsor 9 12 14 10 – 45 Goal (shots-saves) – Sarnia: Gaudreau (W,2-3-0) (45-43). Windsor: Onuska (L, 3-1-1) (23-20). Power play (goals-chances) – Scabies 1-3. Windsor 1-5. Referees: Drew Jackson (21) and Aaron Neely (15) Linesmen: Brad Horan (75) and Spencer Knox (72). Att.: 4,474 at the WFCU Center.


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