AN­A­LYT­ICS MAY OF­FER SOME EMPTY PROM­ISES

Spit­fires coach Le­towski not enamoured with new trend of pulling goalies ear­lier

Windsor Star - - SPORTS - JIM PARKER

While an­a­lyt­ics play a big­ger and big­ger role in hockey, there has to be a com­fort level for ev­ery head coach.

In wins over the Kitch­ener Rangers and Sar­nia Sting last week, Wind­sor Spit­fires head coach Trevor Le­towski saw each club pull its goalie early try­ing to get back into the game.

“It’s a lit­tle bit mod­ern,” said Le­towski, whose team hosts the Guelph Storm Sat­ur­day at the WFCU Cen­tre. “It doesn’t sur­prise me.”

With a late power-play chance, Rangers head coach Jay Mc­Kee pulled his goalie with over three min­utes to play. It made for some hec­tic min­utes for the Spit­fires, but no goals were scored in a 3-0 win over Kitch­ener.

“I think Patrick Roy was the one who ac­tu­ally started it in the NHL,” Le­towski said. “He wasn’t scared to pull a guy early and started the trend.”

The next day, the Spit­fires beat the Sting 5-2, but Sar­nia head coach De­rian Hatcher pulled his goalie with over five min­utes left in reg­u­la­tion and his team down 4-1. Cole Pur­boo came out of the penalty box to score an emp­tynet goal to seal the win for the Spit­fires.

“There’s an­a­lyt­ics out there that say that’s the point of the game to do it with a three-goal deficit,” Le­towski said. “Now the an­a­lyt­ics guys are say­ing, it’s kind of crazy, to be even more ag­gres­sive than that. With a three-goal lead the num­bers sug­gest some­thing like eight min­utes to give your­self a le­git­i­mate chance. To me, it doesn’t seem quite right.” Le­towski has pulled his goalie on eight oc­ca­sions this sea­son, but he has cer­tain lines he won’t cross.

“I think the one that bugs me is the two-goal game,” Le­towski said. “I think the an­a­lyt­ics are say­ing some­thing like four or five min­utes, some­thing like that. To me, if we’re push­ing to get one and we make one mis­take and the puck’s in our net and it’s game over, that seems a lit­tle ag­gres­sive to me.”

But it’s part of the game and ev­ery game brings sit­u­a­tions that Le­towski and his staff have to keep in mind.

“I keep my eye on that stuff,” Le­towski said.

DIPI­ETRO RE­TURNS

Spit­fires goalie Mike DiPi­etro is back with the club af­ter play­ing for Team OHL Thurs­day in a 3-1 win over Team Rus­sia in Sar­nia as part of the Canada-Rus­sia Se­ries. “It was awe­some,” DiPi­etro said of the game, which Hockey Canada of­fi­cials use to help de­ter­mine next month’s camp ros­ter for the world ju­nior tour­na­ment.

The 19-year-old DiPi­etro, who is slated to start Sat­ur­day’s game against Guelph, played the en­tire game for Team OHL and made 18 saves to grab the win.

“It went re­ally well,” DiPi­etro said. “I was happy with the game and had a ton of fun.”

OTH­ERS ON WAY

Le­towski said for­wards Will Cuylle, Jean-Luc Foudy and Kyle McDon­ald will not re­turn to the team in time to play Sat­ur­day against Guelph or Sun­day’s home game against Sag­i­naw. All three are com­pet­ing for Canada at the World Un­der-17 Hockey Chal­lenge in Saint John, N.B. Cuylle, Foudy and Lakeshore’s Ty Tul­lio were elim­i­nated from medal con­tention Thurs­day in Team Canada Black’s 4-2 loss to Swe­den. McDon­ald and Te­cum­seh’s Matthew Mag­gio, who scored in Thurs­day’s 2-1 over­time win over the United States in the quar­ter-fi­nals, lost 5-2 to Fin­land in Fri­day’s semi­fi­nals. The two still have a shot at a medal with a Sat­ur­day bronzemedal match against Swe­den.

NICK BRAN­CAC­CIO

Spencer Cam­peau of the Es­sex Red Raiders spikes the ball past the de­fence of Leam­ing­ton Li­ons’ Sean Leng dur­ing WECSSAA se­nior AA boys vol­ley­ball ac­tion Fri­day. The Raiders won the match, 3 sets to 1.

MIKE HENSEN

Goalie Mike DiPi­etro, who back­stopped Team OHL to a 3-1 win Thurs­day in the Rus­sia-Canada Se­ries, is ex­pected to be back Sat­ur­day.

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