It was a breakout game for what had been a struggling Windsor Spitfires’ offense.
Held to just six goals in the club’s previous three games, the Spitfires posted the club’s second-best offensive performance of the season in an an 8–4 win over the Kitchener Rangers on Sunday before a crowd of 5,242 at the Memorial Auditorium.
“We were (ticked) off,” said Spitfires’ defenseman Michael Renwick, who saw the team snap a two-game losing streak. “We hadn’t lost two in a row in a while and last year I don’t know when we lost two in a row. We were angry and came out with some grit.”
The Spitfires blitzed the Rangers with the game’s first four goals in just over 14 minutes to open a 4-0 lead and chase Kitchener overage goalie Marco Costantini, who won a league title with Hamilton last season, after just 14 shots.
“It’s the first time we’ve faced a little adversity with two losses in a row and we challenged some guys and they came out flying,” said Spitfires’ head coach Marc Savard, whose team fell 3-2 on the road against the Sarnia. Sting on Friday.
“I just think some (line) combinations maybe got stale and maybe we were trying to do a little too much by ourselves. (Sunday), we had more give-and-go goals. We had a great start for a reason and we just had to get it back on the rails.
Two of those early goals came on the power play with Renwick and Oliver Peer sandwiching goals with the manpower advantage around goals by Jacob Maillet and Christopher O’Flaherty.
“Execution is huge,” Renwick said of the early power-play success. “That’s a big part and when you’re executing, it helps with the goals.”
Seemingly rolling with a 4-0 lead, Adam Zidlicky and Francsco Pinelli cut the Windsor lead in half before the first intermission and Pinelli’s second of the game made it a 4-3 game less than three minutes into the second period.
“We can work a team,” said Renwick, who finished with a goal and two assists. “We’re going to score goals and we need to figure out how to clean up some defence. We made it a bit of a game than we didn’t need it to be.”
Alex Christopoulos gave the Spitfires some breathing room and a 5–3 lead after 40 minutes and Matthew Maggio extended the lead to 6–3.
“The message after the first period is you can’t ever lay off the gas,” Savard said. “They made a game of it and we had to rebound and get back to work. We did that with (the Christopoulos goal) and then we took over in the third period. I’m proud of the way we finished up.”
Joseph Serpa got Kitchener back to within two goals one final time, but rookie Liam Greentree became the seventh Windsor player to score in Sunday’s game and Christopoulos added an empty-net goal.
“Consistency is a big thing for me and to play in this league, you’ve got to be ready and come out every game and try to be better than the last game,” said Christopoulos, who is tied for second in the league in goals with 15 in 19 games.
“We put those (two losses) in the past and really concentrated on getting pucks and people to the net. Good road win for our hockey team and looking forward to Wednesday against another good team.
Windsor returns home to face the Owen Sound Attack on Wednesday followed by a Friday match against the Flint Firebirds. Both games are at the WFCU Center and will start at 7:05 pm.
Spitfires 8 Rangers 4
Windsor 4 1 3 – 8
Kitchener 2 1 1 – 4
First period: 1. Windsor, Renwick 7 (Maillet, Cristoforo) 6:18 (pp), 2. Windsor, Maillet 7 (Jodoin, Ride) 7:52, 3. Windsor, O’Flaherty 5 (Abraham, Christopoulos) 9:05, 4. Windsor, Peer 10 (De Angelis, Miedema) 14:10 (pp), 5. Kitchener, Zidlicky 4 (Hamara) 14:31, 6. Kitchener, Pinelli 12 (Mesar, Brzustewicz) 15:59 (pp). Penalties: Zidlicky K (hooking) 6:08, Ride W (holding) 10:08, Sop K (tripping) 13:04, Spellacy W (tripping) 15:24.
Second period: 7. Kitchener, Pinelli 13 (Schmidt, Mesar) 2:41, 8. Windsor, Christopoulos 14 (Abraham) 8:50. Penalties: Spellacy W (roughing), Andonovski K (cross checking) 10:17, Pinelli K (cross-checking major, game misconduct) 11:51, Christopoulos W (roughing) 12:11, Johnston W (roughing) 20:00.
Third period: 9. Windsor, Maggio 12 (Cristoforo, Renwick) 6:19 10. Kitchener, Serpa 9 (Valade, Fishman) 12:43, 11. Windsor, Greentree 3 (Renwick) 16:19, 12. Windsor, Christopoulos 15 (Maillet ) 17:38 (en). Penalties: Greentree W (unsportsmanlike conduct), Zidlicky K (unsportsmanlike conduct) 13:38.
Game stats – SOG – Windsor 17 8 12 – 37 Kitchener 10 11 16 – 37 Goal (shots-saves) – Windsor: Onuska (W, 8-3-3-0) (37-33). Kitchener: Costantini (14-10), Vandenberg (L,1-20-0) (14:10 of first period) (22-19). Power play (goals-chances) – Windsor 2-3. Kitchener 1-3. Referees: Ryan Jenken (36) and Dave Lewis (16). Linesmen: Scott Lawson (98) and Dustin McCrank (68). Att.: 5,242 at the Memorial Auditorium.
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