Spitfires lose 4-1 to 67’s in Ottawa
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.
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.