(WINDSOR, ON) – Heading into the final four games of the season, the Windsor Spitfires are on a 2-game skid after meeting with Sarnia and Erie over the weekend. Outscored 9-5 during the short stretch, the Spits will need to reach deep during the remaining matches to overtake London and secure home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Thursday evening, Windsor hosted the Western Conference leading Erie Otters and were rewarded with a 4-2 doubling.
After a scoreless 1st period, Julius Nattinen put the Spitfires ahead almost midway through the 2nd. But, the Otters fired 3 straight goals past Mike DiPietro over the rest of the period to take a commanding 3-1 lead heading into the 3rd.
Connor Corcoran edged Windsor to within 2 goals with an early period tally, but that was as close as they could get when Erie notched an insurance goal with 5 minutes left to play.
The next night found the Spitfires in Sarnia for a divisional matchup. The Sting, fighting for a playoff spot, skated to a 5-3 win at Progressive Auto Sales Arena.
Mario Culina got the nod in net for Windsor and the teams battled to a scoreless draw after 20 minutes. They then matched 2 goals apiece in the 2nd period with Graham Knott and Hayden McCool being credited with Windsor’s markers.
Just 20 seconds into the final frame Jeremy Bracco and Aaron Luchuk set up top NHL prospect Gabriel Vilardi, on the power play, for his 29th goal of the season. The Spitfires held the lead for over 12 minutes until Sarnia tied it up and then went ahead. The Sting added a final goal to quash any hope of Windsor tying it up.
The Spitfires are solidly planted in 5th place for the coming playoffs. The Kitchener Rangers have no chance to catch them, but Windsor trails London by just 5 points in the OHL’s superior Western Conference.
Windsor will face 7th place Flint at home this afternoon at 2:05pm. They’ll follow that up with a rematch in Sarnia on Wednesday, needing every point in their chase of the Knights.
London is meeting the last place Guelph Storm on the road this afternoon and then will travel to Erie for a tilt with the 1st place Otters on Tuesday.