Dogs, Otters Fight To Face Spitfires

Logan Brown (21) has an unobstructed view of Mikhail Sergachev's power play marker as it beats Erie's Troy Timpano (33) to put Windsor ahead 3-0 to open the 2nd period on 24 May 2017.Photo by John Skinner.

Logan Brown (21) has an unobstructed view of Mikhail Sergachev‘s power play marker as it beats Erie’s Troy Timpano (33) to put Windsor ahead 3-0 to open the 2nd period on 24 May 2017.
Photo by John Skinner.

(WINDSOR, ON) – For the first time since the Spitfires opened the 2017 Memorial Cup by defeating Saint John Sea Dogs 3-2, there will be no hockey played at the WFCU Arena. Since that time the Spitfires have gone on to set back the Seattle Thunderhawks 7-1 and, last night, the OHL champion Erie Otters 4-2.

Having done so, the Spits have propelled themselves into the Cup finals and await tomorrow night’s winner between the Otters and the Sea Dogs. The battle of aquatic mammals will determine the team who will face Windsor for junior hockey supremacy Sunday at 7:00pm.

The route to this point for Windsor has been less than optimal, but perfect none-the-less. Leading the London Knights in the opening round best-of-seven series, the Spitfires allowed the series to get away from them and bowed down to the Knights. London, in turn, succumbed to the Otters in the next round, 4 games to 3.

Luke Boka (61) has an ice-level view of Aaron Luchuk (91) as Darren Raddysh (24) and Erik Cernak (14) attempt to get back into the play during a Memorial Cup round-robin game on 24 May 2017.Photo by John Skinner.

Luke Boka (61) has an ice-level view of Aaron Luchuk (91) as Darren Raddysh (24) and Erik Cernak (14) attempt to get back into the play during a Memorial Cup round-robin game on 24 May 2017.
Photo by John Skinner.

Over the intervening six weeks, Windsor has been game idle, but hard at work completing 2-a-day practices. The time off also allowed them to regenerate injured players, being able to ice a healthy team for the first time this season.

“At the end of the day, our guys have been working hard,” Spitfires president Bob Boughner told The Square pre-series. “They’re in great shape and are rested and are ready to go.”

As a result, Jeremiah Addison, with a hat trick last night, sits in the middle of 4 Otters in Memorial Cup scoring, and second in +/-.

Mike DiPietro (64) gets a bead on the puck during a Memorial Cup match between Windsor and Erie on 24 May 2017. DiPietro backstopped the Spitfires to their 3rd win in as many games by kicking out 33 of 35 Otters shots for a 4-2 win.Photo by John Skinner.

Mike DiPietro (64) gets a bead on the puck during a Memorial Cup match between Windsor and Erie on 24 May 2017. DiPietro backstopped the Spitfires to their 3rd win in as many games by kicking out 33 of 35 Otters shots for a 4-2 win.
Photo by John Skinner.

Windsor’s Mike DiPietro leads all goalkeepers with a 1.67 goals against average, less than half his nearest competitor, Callum Booth of the Sea Dogs. DiPietro has played more minutes than any other goaltender and faced more shots.

The Spitfires have also gotten solid offensive play from Jeremy Bracco and Gabe Vilardi; each with 5 points. Montreal Canadiens draft pick Mikhail Sergachev is tied for 2nd in scoring by defensemen with 3 points and has a +4 rating. Sergachev netted last night’s game winning goal.

Windsor goaltender Mike DiPietro watches as Jalen Chatfield (51) wards off a stick check by Taylor Raddysh (17) as he turns to head up ice during a Memorial Cup round-robin match on 24 May 2017.Photo by John Skinner.

Windsor goaltender Mike DiPietro watches as Jalen Chatfield (51) wards off a stick check by Taylor Raddysh (17) as he turns to head up ice during a Memorial Cup round-robin match on 24 May 2017.
Photo by John Skinner.

In the meantime, Windsor awaits the outcome between Erie and Saint John. In their round-robin meeting, the Otters routed the Sea Dogs 12-5 in a penalty-filled affair. Saint John defenseman, and Boston Bruins prospect, Jakub Zboril received a roughing minor and game misconduct late in the 2nd period, but will be back tomorrow against the Otters.

It is now down to one game, but Windsor will have to wait for one more playoff. But they are used to that.

TJ Fergus (25) rifles a shot toward Mike DiPietro in the Windsor net on 24 May 2017. The Spitfires defeated Erie 4-2 in front of 6,136 in attendance.Photo by John Skinner.

TJ Fergus (25) rifles a shot toward Mike DiPietro in the Windsor net on 24 May 2017. The Spitfires defeated Erie 4-2 in front of 6,136 in attendance.
Photo by John Skinner.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata

Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States.
Email Ian Shalapata

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