Windsor’s Jeff Brown scored 11 minutes, 9 seconds into the second overtime to seal the Spitfires 4-3 win against the Otters in front of 4,818 at Tullio Arena on Saturday night.
The Spitfires evened the series at a game apiece heading back to WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on Monday at 7:05 p.m.
After combining for three goals in the Otters’ 2-1 win in Game 1 on Thursday, two of the league’s top three offenses in the regular season found their rhythm in the first period on Saturday.
The Otters opened the scoring by capitalizing on a 5-on-3 opportunity, as Mike Cazzola scored in front on assists from Shawn Szydlowski and Phil Varone with 9:31 left in the period. The Otters nearly scored again moments later, but Andrew Yogan’s shot glanced off the crossbar.
The teams then finished the period with three goals in the final four minutes. Jake Carrick tied score at 1 with 3:43 left on an assist from Alexander Khokhlachev. Otters captain Greg McKegg snapped the tie by turning Cazzola’s pass into his first goal of the playoffs 1:19 later.
But Ryan Ellis’ shot from the point slipped past Otters goaltender Ramis Sadikov with 1:08 left in the period to send the teams into the second period tied at 2. Then the Spitfires took a 3-2 lead – their first lead of the series – on Brown’s goal 4:47 into the second period.
Meanwhile, the Otters had a penalty-shot opportunity overturned midway through the period. A referee pointed to center ice after apparently calling Spitfires defenseman Ryan Ellis for covering the puck in the crease. But after a lengthy discussion, Ellis received a two-minute minor for delay of the game.
The Otters earned a brief 5-on-3. Yet they failed to score. They also squandered several other scoring chances despite finishing the period with only six shots on goal.
But 6:23 into the third, the Otters tied the score at 3, as Cazzola’s second assist and third point of the game led to Szydlowski’s first goal of the playoffs. Then it was on to an entertaining first overtime that featured a combined 25 shots on goal and two power plays apiece.
Brown finally ended it with a rebound from the left wing.
- Victor Fernandes
No. 4 Windsor vs. No. 5 Erie
Game 1 – Erie 2, Windsor 1
Game 2 – Windsor 4, Erie 3 (2OT)
Game 3 – Monday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.
Game 4 – Wednesday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 3 at Erie, 4:30 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 5 at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.*
Series tied 1-1
* If necessary
Spitfires 4, Otters 3 (2OT)
Windsor 2 1 0 0 1 — 4
Erie 2 0 1 0 0 — 3
1st Period — 1. Erie, Mike Cazzola 1 (Szydlowski, Varone), 10:29 (pp). 2. Windsor, Jake Carrick 1 (Khokhlachev), 16:17. 3. Erie, Greg McKegg 1 (Cazzola, Yogan), 17:36. 4. Windsor, Ryan Ellis 1 (Johnston), 18:52. Penalties — McKegg (E) high sticking, 3:20; Vail (W) goaltender interference, 6:03; Hostetter (E) roughing, 6:03; Brown (W) roughing, 6:03; Kuhnhackl (W) hooking, 8:47; Ellis (W) hooking, 9:52; Paton (E) interference, 12:04; Ryan (W) goaltender interference, 12:30.
2nd Period — 5. Windsor, Jeff Brown 1 (Ellis, Campbell), 4:47. Penalties — Posa (W) interference, :14; Szydlowski (W) checking from behind, 3:54; Carrick (W) boarding, 4:03; Cook (E) instigator, 4:03; Cook (E) 5-min. fighting, 4:03, 4:03; Carrick (W) 5-min. fighting, 4:03; Cook (E) 10-min. fighting, 4:03; Rychel (W) hooking, 7:16; Ellis (W) delay of game, 8:55; Cazzola (E) roughing, 8:55; Robertson (W) roughing, 8:55; Robertson (W) tripping, 19:51.
3rd Period — 6. Erie, Shawn Szydlowski 1 (Cazzola), 6:23. Penalties — Luciani (E) roughing, 9:35.
Overtime — None. Penalties — Szydlowski (E) tripping, 2:30; Varone (E) tripping, 4:13; Kuhnhackl (W) goaltender interference, 8:39; Campbell (W) delay of game (served by Carrick), 11:46.
Second Overtime — 7. Windsor, Brown 2 (Carnevale, Rychel), 11:09. Penalties — None.
Shots on goal — Windsor, 9-11-10-11-8—49; Erie, 10-6-9-14-4—43.
Goaltenders — Windsor, Jack Campbell 1-1-0 (43 shots, 40 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 1-1-0 (49 shots, 45 saves).
Power plays — Windsor (0-6), Erie (1-10).
Referees — Jason Goldenberg, Sean Reid. Linesmen — Jesse Wilmot, Mike Harrington.
Attendance — 4,818.
* Mike Cazzola, Otters (goal, 2 assists) ** Jeff Brown, Spitfires (2 goals) *** Shawn Szydlowski, Otters (goal, assist)