(WINDSOR, ON) – After dropping a 2-1 decision to Sarnia on March 4, the Windsor Spitfires needed to get back into the hunt for first place in the West Division and the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Their journey back to the top would take them through the North Bay Battalion and the Kingston Frontenacs, teams at or near the top of their respective divisions and a tough road to travel at the best of times.
The Spitfires welcomed North Bay to town on March 5 to start a rare weekend back-to-back at home. By the end of the evening, Windsor was 2 points richer after a 4-2 win, which was closer than the score would indicate.
Christian Fischer opened the scoring at 10:35 of the first period, with Zach Poirier in the box for interference. Fischer would add 5 points over the two weekend games.
Mikhail Sergachev and Bradley Latour assisted on Fischer’s 35th goal of the season, and it would stand up as the only tally in the first 20 minutes.
Left winger Hayden McCool put the Spitfires up by two with his 14th, assisted by Fischer and Andrew Burns. However, North Bay would fight back to within one when sniper Mike Amadio potted his 44th, while Fischer was serving a minor for tripping.
Fischer made amends for his transgression when Brendan Lemieux set him up before the 3rd period was a minute old. Mike DiPietro barred the door for the remainder of the final frame until the Battalion pulled Jake Kment in favour of an extra attacker.
DiPietro gave up a Mathew Santos goal and the Battalion continued to pressure Windsor until Logan Brown ended all hope with an empty netter with 43 seconds left to play.
North Bay fired 30 shots at the Spitfire goal, outshooting Windsor by 3. For his efforts, DiPietro was given Sunday off and Mario Culina got the start against Kingston.
After the tough tilt against North Bay, Windsor hosted the Frontenacs at home on Sunday. The leaders of the East Division too little time in exploiting the tired Spitfires and skated away with a 6-3 win.
Conor McGlynn broke the 0-0 deadlock at 3:17 of the 1st. That was followed by a seeing eye goal that found its way in off a point shot by Stephen Desrocher.
The Spitfires would get one back early in the 2nd when Logan Brown scored on the power play from Lemieux and Fischer. Spencer Watson’s 38th of the season re-established a 2-goal lead and Ryan Verbeek staked Kingston to a 3-goal margin.
Verbeek’s notch chased Culina from between the pipes to be relieved by DiPietro.
A second power play goal for Windsor, this time by Lemieux from Brown and Sergachev, gave the fans some hope for a comeback, but those dreams were quickly dashed by Ryan Cranford shortly before the end 40 minutes.
Most of the final frame was over before Latour netted Windsor’s 3rd power play goal. But, playing two men up on a power play, and pulling DiPietro, Juho Lammikko found the empty net for a short handed marker to end the game.
Sitting one point behind Sarnia, the Spitfires need to make the most of their final five regular season games. Beginning Thursday at home to Sarnia, Windsor will alternate away and home games against Owen Sound, Kitchener, and Saginaw, before ending the schedule away in Sarnia.