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Spitfires hold on for first OHL outdoor win

Janes' shorthanded goal lifts Windsor over Saginaw at Comerica Park

Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 7:31 PM ET / Recap
By Andrea Nelson  - Editorial Assistant | DetroitRedWings.com
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Spitfires hold on for first OHL outdoor win

Goalie Dalen Kuchmey makes one of his 21 saves in a relief appearance for the Windsor Spitfires who held off Saginaw late in Sunday's OHL doubleheader at Comerica Park. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – The third time was not the charm for the Saginaw Spirit.

After falling to Windsor twice in the past nine days, Saginaw dropped its third straight Ontario Hockey League game to the Spitfires Sunday, losing 6-5 under the lights at Comerica Park.

“The boys were really happy to get the win,” said Windsor forward Josh Ho-Sang. “It was a great experience, everything that went into it. New jerseys, bigger crow, it was awesome. We had a little bit of a delay, but that only added to the excitement. We were looking forward to it and I’m glad we got the two points.”

The inaugural outdoor OHL game got off to a late start, as it was one of the few ballpark games to endure a two-hour delay due to an abundance of sunshine durng the Hockeytown Winter Festival.

“It was the right call,” Windsor coach Bob Boughner said. “I went out there on the ice for the team photo for our supposed warm-up and I don’t think you could have played – the goaltenders especially, but everybody was squinting.”

The game was a shootout once the puck dropped, as the Spirit led 3-1 early in the second period, but Windsor scored four unanswered goals over the next 6 ½ minutes to take a commanding two-goal lead. Saginaw wouldn’t go down without a fight, however, as the Spirit tied the game down the stretch, but gave up a shorthanded goal with five minutes left in the game that sealed the victory for the Spitfires.

“The first period there were a lot of adjustments for both teams, trying to acclimate and figure out the bounces off the glass and the boards,” Boughner said. “After a while, into the second period, I think we all settled down and played our game, like any other game.”

Saginaw lost its top goal-scorer seconds after Ben Johnson gave Windsor a 1-0 lead in the first period, when Cody Payne came off the bench to fight Ty Bilcke. Both players received five minute fighting penalties and Payne received a game misconduct penalty for his part. Payne leads the Spirit with 15 goals in 30 games.

After goals by Eric Locke and Daniel De Sousa gave Saginaw a 2-1 lead in the opening period, Windsor replaced starting goalie Alex Fotinos with backup Dalen Kuchmey at the start of the middle period. The change didn’t initially alleviate the Spitfires’ woes, though, as Jeremiah Addison scored his second goal of the season just under two minutes into the second to give Saginaw a 3-1 lead.

But the rest of the period belonged to Windsor, as the Spitfires scored four unanswered goals to take a 5-3 lead. Cristiano DiGiacinto, Slater Koekkoek, Remy Giftopoulos and Brody Milne all notched goals in the second period, while Brady Vail assisted on three of those four goals.

“We gave it to them right on a silver platter like we’ve been doing for the last four weeks,” Saginaw coach Greg Gilbert said. “Turnover after turnover, at our blue line, their blue line and when you do that you get on the defensive and on your heels and they came at us and took it to us. It’s a credit to them for making us pay for our mistakes, but those silly mistakes shouldn’t happen.”

Saginaw stormed back in the third period, though, as Patrick Sanvido and Brandon Prophet scored two power-play goals five minutes apart to tie the game 5-5. But despite back-to-back four minute power plays and two 5-on-3 opportunities, the Spirit were unable to score again, and gave up a shorthanded goal with just over five minutes left in the game that cemented the victory for Windsor.

“It was unbelievable,” Steven Janes said of his shorthanded, game-winning goal at Comerica Park. “Can’t really put it into words, it’s nothing I’ve ever had in five years that’s for sure it was good to take in.”

The contest was the first of two OHL matchups as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival and the first outdoor OHL game, an opportunity both teams were excited to be part of.

“What an experience,” Bilcke said. “Playing in front of 25,000 fans and the view, sitting on the bench and looking at the whole stadium, it was just a surreal experience. We’re going down in history as the first OHL game outdoors. I don’t know what to say. I’m speechless.

“Before going off the ice, I kind of just stepped back. I just wanted to stay on the ice for another minute and look around, take it all in, because I don’t know when I’m ever going to see that again. It’s hard to pick one thing and the memory I’ll take with me. What an experience.”

The Spirit was without top goaltender and Red Wings prospect Jake Paterson, who is currently with Team Canada in the World Junior Championships in Sweden. In 22 games with Saginaw this season, Paterson has posted an 11-9-2 record.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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