(WINDSOR, ON) – Both Connor Chatham and Luke Kirwan were in the starting line-ups for Windsor and Flint marking the first meeting between the teams since the January 2 trade that saw them swapped between the two clubs. Kirwan, a Spitfires acquisition from Guelph in June 2014, scored against his old teammates but it wasn’t enough to keep Windsor from skating to a 5-3 victory, last night.
Logan Brown opened the scoring, at 7:34 of the 1st period, when he jumped on a rebound and fired the puck into the open net, past Flint net minder Brent Moran. Complaints by Moran to the referee went unheeded as Brown, Brendan Lemieux, and Mikhail Sergachev celebrated behind the Flint goal.
Windsor took their 1-0 lead into the second period where Lemieux then added to the score. A goalmouth scramble resulted in the 24th goal of the season for the Spitfire left winger. Christian Fischer made it 3-0 as he tallied a power play marker with Flint’s captain Alex Peters in the sin bin for roughing. Just before the period’s end, Kirwan would notch his 4th of the year and second since joining the Firebirds, to cut the Windsor lead to 3-1.
The Kirwan goal would provide some hope to the Flint squad as Vili Saarijärvi would score before the two minute mark of the final frame. Sergachev restored the 2-goal buffer at 6:53, but neither team was yet finished.
Brad Latour put the Spitfires up by three late in the period, but Dane Johnstone registered Flint’s third goal with just six seconds remaining to play.
Brown and Sergachev each topped the night with a goal and 3 assists each. Brown was a +3 on the evening.
Moran made 26 saves in the Flint loss. He is now winless in 14 games since joining the Firebirds from Niagara.
The winning goalie, Mike DiPietro, is 13-3-1 this year for Windsor, including a 0.922 save percentage and 2.26 GAA. The Spitfires are in 1st place in the OHL West with 59 points, seven more than Sarnia, who has two games in hand. Windsor has the 4th spot over-all in the league, and 4th in the Western Conference, behind Erie, London, and Kitchener.
The Spitfires are now embarking on a 3-game road journey starting with a rematch against the Firebirds on January 23. The next night they move further north to meet the Greyhounds in Sault Ste Marie, then conclude the trip on January 29 in Kitchener.
That final road game begins a three games in three nights stretch for Windsor as they return home to face off against London, and wrap up the month when they host Sarnia on the 31st.