Zito’s return along with revamped special teams sees Spitfires beat Sting 7-3

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Zito, who was injured Nov. 3 against Flint, came back with one goal and two assists, while the Spitfires scored three goals in the power play and killed all four lack of personnel in a 7-3 win over Sarnia Sting the Friday before. 2,897 at Progressive Auto Sales Arena.


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“It’s nice when you’re on a roll and want more games,” said Spitfires head coach Marc Savard, whose team has won three in a row for the first time this season.

Zito played a big role early in the game after the Spitfires fell 1-0 on a Nolan Damm goal. Zito received an assist when Daniel D’Amico threw home on a Grayson Ladd shot to tie the game and then scored on a good individual effort that went to the net to put Windsor up 2-1. Ashton Reesor tied the Sting at the end of the first 20 minutes.

“It’s good to have him back,” Savard said of Zito, who is the Detroit Red Wings prospect. “He’s one of our key guys.”

Perhaps in the team’s best period of the season, the Spitfires dominated the second period with a 17-4 advantage in shooting and scored the only two goals of the period for a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes.


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Rookie Ethan Miedema battled his check on the edge of the crease to put Windsor up 3-2 and Kyle McDonald stretched the lead to two with a power play goal.

Cuylle would extend the lead to three goals with a power play goal early in the third period and then added the second later in the period as Windsor produced three goals with the man lead for the first time this season.

“We broke it down,” Savard said of the power play. “We are second in the league in shooting in the power game.

“We have moved the boys from one place to another. Cuylle (who was on point) in front of the net. It’s a good option “.

Windsor entered Game 17 in the league with the man advantage at just 14.9 percent, but clicked 50 percent on Friday.

“I think once you fight a little bit, you tend to throw shots and fast plays,” Savard said. “At the beginning of the year, we were moving records and looking for different styles.”


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The Spitfires also got a boost from their penalty against the league’s worst power play with Sarnia unable to convert on any of his four chances.

“We’ve changed our structure as we go along,” said Savard, whose team entered the game with the worst penalty in the league at 69.4 percent. “I think the guys could have been a bit in the middle. (Associate Coach Jerrod Smith) worked hard to get the guys back to hard work, stop and go and press the ice. We have to make more saves on penalties and the goalkeepers know it too. “

Windsor goalkeeper Xavier Medina wasn’t too busy with 19 saves, but he has been at the net for all three of the club’s wins in his current streak.

After Cuylle’s first power play goal, D’Amico added his second goal for the Spitfires, who held a 42-22 shooting lead. Dann got his second before Cuylle closed the scoring on a final power play from Windsor.


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Spits out bits

First-year forward Oliver Peer continues to move closer to a return to the game after missing his fifth straight game on Friday. Rookie forward Wylie Birkett was a healthy scratch Friday.

Peer hasn’t played since Oct. 23 due to an ankle injury, but Savard said he is getting closer to playing again.

“He’s skating,” Savard said. “He won’t play this weekend, but maybe Thursday.”

Meanwhile, there will be no reunion for Savard on Saturday when the Spitfires take on Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds at the WFCU Center.

Savard’s 18-year-old son Tyler is in his first season with the Greyhounds, but will miss the game due to an ankle injury.

“He doesn’t even make the trip,” Savard said.

The young forward has nine points from 14 games for the Greyhounds, who took him in the 11th round of the 2020 OHL Draft.


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Game Summary

Friday result

Spitfires 7 Sting 3

Windsor 2 2 3 – 7

Sarnia 2 0 1-3

First period: 1. Sarnia, Dann 5 (Burke, Supryka) 7:24, 2. Windsor, D’Amico 2 (Ladd, Zito), 11:10, 3. Windsor, Zito 5 (D’Amico, Ladd) 14:11. Penalties: Sobolev W (blind) 14:44.

Second period: 5. Windsor, Miedema 4 (Johnston) 7:51, 6. Windsor, McDonald 5 (Cuylle, Henault) 10:24 (pp). Penalties: Vogelsberg S (stumbling) 2:29, Renwick W (cutting) 14:33.

Third period: 7. Windsor, Cuylle 8 (Johnston, Zito) 6:20 (pp.), 8. Windsor, D’Amico 3 (McDonald, Sobolev) 7:34, 9. Sarnia, Dann 6 (Dillingham, Namestnikov) 8:18 , 10. Windsor, Cuylle 9 (Henault, Zito) 17:54 (pp).

Penalties: Henault W (roughing) 2:54, Neck S (double hit minor high) 5:22, Ribau W (stumble) 6:42, Reesor S (high hit) 9:34, O’Flaherty W (roughing), Dillingham S (rudeness), Pryce S (rudeness) 16:12, Ride W (unsportsmanlike conduct), Filak S (unsportsmanlike conduct) 18:58.

Game Statistics – SOG – Windsor 12 17 13 – 42 Sarnia 9 4 9 – 22 Goal (shot-saves) – Windsor: Medina (W, 4-3-0-2) (22-19). Sarnia: Thornton (L, 1-40-0) (42-35). Power play (goals-chances) – Windsor 3-6. Sarnia 0-4. Referees: Craig Dease (39) and Ryan Elbers (9). Linesmen: Ryan Cadwell (82) and Adam Harris (49). For: 2,897 at Progressive Auto Sales Arena.


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