Spitfires lose 4-1 to 67’s in Ot­tawa

Windsor Star - - NEWS - JIM PARKER jp­parker@post­media.com twit­ter.com/win­starparker

The Wind­sor Spitfires are sorely miss­ing a go-to line.

While the club has sev­eral play­ers who should be able to score on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, the fact is the club has not been able to put a trio that can put to­gether goals on a con­sis­tent ba­sis.

That was painfully ob­vi­ous again on Fri­day as the Spitfires dropped a 4-1 de­ci­sion to the Ot­tawa 67’s be­fore 2,153 fans at TD Place Arena.

“It’s sort of frus­trat­ing when you’re los­ing games you should prob­a­bly get a bet­ter re­sult in, but you just have to trust the process and keep work­ing hard,” Spitfires over­age cen­tre Igor Lar­i­onov said.

The Spitfires have pro­duced just six goals over the past four games and dropped be­low the .500 mark and lost back-to-back games for the first time this sea­son.

“I think we’re get­ting our chances, we’re just not able to bury the puck,” Lar­i­onov said. “Usu­ally when that hap­pens, at one point you break out and keep scor­ing and scor­ing and scor­ing and we’re hop­ing that hap­pens soon.”

Wind­sor fired the game’s first six shots on Fri­day, but could not find the back of the net as the 67’s slowly worked their way back into the game. The Spitfires also failed to con­vert on three pow­er­play chances in a score­less open­ing pe­riod.

“We started great,” Spitfires head coach Trevor Le­towski said. “I think our power play, es­pe­cially tonight, it hurt us. If we get a power-play goal it might be a dif­fer­ent game.”

Un­like the Spitfires, the 67’s do boast a go-to line with Austen Keat­ing and Tye Fel­haber, who en­tered the game among the league’s top three scor­ers, joined on the line by league rookie scor­ing leader Marco Rossi.

The diminu­tive Rossi, who is from Aus­tria, got the 67’s of­fence rolling in the sec­ond pe­riod. He tipped a shot past Spitfires’ goalie Mikey DiPi­etro and then added a power-play goal later against the Wind­sor penalty killing unit, which came in lead­ing the league hav­ing al­lowed just one goal on 21 chances.

“That’s an elite line,” Le­towski said. “They end up get­ting one (on the power play) and you can’t kill all of them. That’s a pretty good team.”

To the de­light of fam­ily and friends, Spitfires rookie and Ot­tawa na­tive Kyle McDon­ald got Wind­sor to within a goal af­ter 40 min­utes. Ot­tawa’s Kody Clark blind­ing threw the puck into the slot from be­hind the 67’s net and McDon­ald was there to ham­mer it home.

“The puck came right to me, I don’t even know how, I just saw it and pounded it,” said McDon­ald, who was the team’s sec­on­dround pick in this year’s draft. “I don’t even think I aimed or any­thing.

“Then, once you score, you don’t know what to do and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, it re­ally just hap­pened.’

“It’s an un­real feel­ing. There was a lot of (fam­ily and friends) and to get it in front of them and my home­town is an un­real feel­ing.”

But the Spitfires got no closer as Sasha Ch­melevski scored on a wra­paround mid­way through the third pe­riod to re­store Ot­tawa’s two-goal lead.

Last year, there were times Le­towski could just tap Aaron Luchuk and Lo­gan Brown on the bench and find in­stant of­fence, but Fri­day was an­other night of jug­gling lines and com­bi­na­tions try­ing to find an an­swer.

“We keep mix­ing and match­ing and try­ing,” Le­towski said. “There are a cou­ple of guys that need to be bet­ter. It’s not like we’re play­ing poorly.

“We just have to find a way to score and the power play has to be bet­ter.”

With the net empty late in the game, Wind­sor’s Cole Pur­boo and Mathew MacDougall were both de­nied on the Ot­tawa doorstep and Fel­haber coun­tered with an empty-net goal to close the scor­ing.

ALEX PILOTTE

Marco Rossi of the Ot­tawa 67’s cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing one of his two goals in a 4-1 vic­tory over the Spitfires Fri­day at TD Place in Ot­tawa.

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