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WEEKEND WHALERS RECAP, Jan. 30-31 - Whalers Split Two at Home

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Hackett stops one of his 47 on Friday - photo: Walt Dmoch
Whalers Release, edited by .iTown

Friday, Jan 30 - Goaltender Matt Hackett stopped 47-of-49 shots as the game’s first star, Chris Terry scored a two goals with an assist as the game’s second star and the penalty killers went 10-for-10 as the Plymouth Whalers built a 3-0 lead in the second period and went on the defeat the top-ranked Windsor Spitfires, 4-2, in an Ontario Hockey League game played Friday night before 2,371 at Compuware Arena.

Windsor had a 14-game winning streak snapped and has the Canadian Hockey League’s best record at 43-6-0-1.  The Whalers have defeated Windsor twice this season.

Besides Terry’s pair (team-leading 25th and 26th of the season), the Whalers also received goals from Tyler Seguin (8) and Michal Jordan (5th).  Conor O’Donnell scored both Windsor goals (10-11).

The Whalers jumped off to an excellent start, getting goals from Terry at 1:12 (one-timer from the right circle) and a power play goal from Seguin (snap shot from the lower rim of the left circle) at 6:36.  Windsor had a territorial advantage the rest of the period and outshot Plymouth, 15-6, in the first frame.  But the Whalers penalty killers played well in the period, negating penalties to Leo Jenner for interference at 1:54, AJ Jenks for high sticking at 3:27 and Jamie Devane for slashing at 16:10.

Plymouth took a 3-0 lead at 5:37 of the second period on a goal by Jordan, which capped good Whaler pressure in the Windsor zone by the line of Terry, Matt Caria and Seguin.  Caria – stationed in the right corner -  found Jordan breaking into the slot and Jordan made no mistake with a low shot past Windsor goaltender Josh Unice.

Windsor continued to pressure, outshooting Plymouth, 24-8 in the second period, and got a goal back by O’Donnell at 16:51 of the period on a deflection from Ben Shutron’s point shot.

The Spitfires cut the Plymouth lead to 3-2 on O’Donnell’s second of the night on another deflection of Taylor Hall’s shot from the left wing.

Windsor head coach Bob Boughner pulled goaltender Unice with 1:39 left, but Terry scored on the empty net with a shot from the penalty box area at 18:53.  Windsor outshot Plymouth, 49-25.

“”We played great,” Hackett said after the game.  “In the second period alone, we killed off five straight penalties.  The boys battled hard and it was great to see.”

“We were short handed a lot again and we did take some bad penalties at certain times,” said Vellucci.  “But we played hard – we blocked shots, we competed.  Windsor’s a great hockey team and you have to be at the top of your game to win.  Our defense (Beau Schmitz, Michal Jordan, Brett Bellemore, Leo Jenner, Josh Bemis and Scott Fletcher) played really well.  I thought our forwards committed for the most part to backcheck to the house and help them out.  Windsor had a lot of shots, but a lot of them were from the outside and the ones that were in tight, Hack was stellar again as always.”

Saturday, Jan. 31 - Jared Gomes scored a hat trick and Ryan Lopes added a pair as the Mississauga St.Michael’s Majors rebounded from a 3-2 deficit after one period to defeat the Plymouth Whalers, 7-4, in an Ontario Hockey League game played Saturday night before 2,497 at Compuware Arena.

Jesse Messier and Kale Kerbashian added one goal each for Mississauga, who improved to 26-21-1-2. Ryan Hayes scored twice for Plymouth (19th and 20th) and Tyler Seguin (9) and Michal Jordan (6) scored one each.  The Whalers are now 24-22-5-0.

The first period saw a distinct shift of momentum.  Mississauga led, 2-0, on a pair of goals by Gomes at 0:40 and 4:41 respectively.  Plymouth head coach Mike Vellucci pulled goaltender Matt Hackett in favor on Scott Wedgewood at that point and the Whalers battled back to their only lead of the game, outshooting Mississauga, 17-0, the rest of the period and 20-3 overall.  Goals by Jordan (scramble at the side of the goal at 5:36) and Hayes (snap shot from the right hash mark at 6:07) tied the game.  Hayes gave Plymouth the lead with his 20th of the season at 14:08 after accepting a pass from Seguin from the right circle to the left and made no mistake with the shot.

But Mississauga took control of the game with three unanswered goals in the second period – Messier at 13:24 (rebound at the right hashmark), Lopes at 14:03 and a short handed goal by Kerbashian at 17:04 (picked off a loose puck at the Plymouth blue line and beat Wedgewood with a backhand shot inside the right post).  Mississauga led, 5-3, after forty minutes.

Lopes scored his second of the night and 7th of the year at 14:03 of the third period to increase to Majors lead to 6-3.  Seguin cut into the lead for Plymouth at 14:44 when his shot from the lower rim of the left circle bounced off a Mississauga defender and into the goal.  Gomes then scored on the empty net for his hat trick with 0:22 left to close the scoring.

Plymouth outshot Mississuaga, 47-33, in the game.

The Whalers are off until Friday, Feb. 6, when they host Owen Sound at 7:05 pm.  The Whalers host Belleville on Saturday, again at 7:05 pm.  Tickets for all Whalers games are available by calling the Compuware Arena box office at (734) 453-8400.

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