By Ian Shalapata
(WINDSOR, ON) – The league leading Erie Otters survived an outing against the Windsor Spitfires, but just barely. By the end of the night’s activities, the Otters rode out of town with a hard fought 5-4 victory.
Between a shorthanded goal with 6 seconds left in the 1st period, and an early goal in the 2nd, the Otters built a 2-0 lead before Windsor could get on the board. Hayden McCool got Windsor going at 6:36 of the middle frame, also a short handed effort, and the Spitfires knotted the score at 2 apiece 3 minutes into the 3rd period on Logan Brown’s 10th goal of the campaign.
Erie re-established the two-goal cushion before the midway point of the final stanza, but Brendon Lemieux got one back on a man advantage. With the net empty in favour of an extra attacker, Windsor went all out to draw even again. However, the Otters went up 5-3 on an empty netter.
Still with an extra skater, Windsor was able to get one back on a Connor Chatham shot with 6 seconds remaining on the clock.
Mike DiPietro took the loss for the Spitfires, as he kicked out 24-of-28 shots.
Windsor will now head out on a mini road trip for two games, beginning in Kingston Friday night. The Frontenacs lead the East Division with a 32-14-2-2 record and 68 points and owns the league’s best penalty kill unit.
The meeting will bring the Spitfires back into contact with former Windsor defenseman Liam Murray, who was dealt to Kingston in exchange for Kingston’s 3rd round pick in 2017.
“Liam has been a great Spitfire,” Spitfires VP and General Manager Warren Rychel said, at the time of the trade. “Kingston was looking for a veteran defenseman that could bring some physical play to their line up, and we need to give young guys like (Tyler) Nother and (Kyle) Auger a chance to play.”
Murray has played 16 games for the Frontenacs and has scored a goal and an assist in that time, going –4 and registering 20 penalty minutes.
This will be the first meeting between the Spitfires and Kingston this year. They will face off again on March 6 when the Frontenacs make the trip to Windsor.