(WINDSOR, ON) – Hayden McCool stepped up for the Windsor Spitfires Sunday as they hosted the Hamilton Bulldogs in OHL action at the WFCU Arena. McCool registered a 3-point night and was named the 1st star as the Spits out-lasted the Dogs 5-3 in front of 4,784.
Mario Culina was given the start in goal for Windsor, as Mike DiPietro prepared for the CHL’s Top Prospects game in Quebec City. Culina turned away 24 shots as he notched his 8th win of the season between the pipes.
Newcomer Adam Laishram opened the scoring with his 8th of the year with an unassisted tally on the power play. The goal stood as the lone marker of the 1st period until Hamilton’s Michael Cramarossa tied the affair at 4:54 of the 2nd.
McCool’s goal, from Graham Knott and Mikhail Sergachev at 16:05, should have given Windsor a lead going into the dressing room, but Matt Luff knotted the game at 2 just 81 seconds later.
Windsor went ahead for the third time in the match as Knott was set up by McCool and Jeremy Bracco before the half way point of the 3rd frame. Cristiano DiGiacinto and Sergachev then fed the puck to Aaron Luchuk for his 19th, and the game winner, with less than 90 second to play.
Brandon Saigeon got one back for the visitors, however Luke Boka hit an empty net for the insurance goal from McCool and Sergachev to re-establish the 2-goal lead at 19:53.
The win extended Windsor’s record on the season to 30-11-5-2 and a 2nd place position in the OHL West Division. They are slowly chipping away at the Sault Ste Marie lead and are now just 2 points back of the Hounds.
The Spitfires have a chance to put more pressure on the Soo as they host the last place Saginaw Spirt this Thursday at 7:00pm. Windsor will be looking to avenge a 3-2 road loss to the Spirit on January 28.