Sellout Crowd Sees Whalers Bounce Back in 4-3 Win Over Windsor
PLYMOUTH - After losing last night in Windsor, the Plymouth Whalers needed a bounce-back effort tonight and did exactly that in a 4-3 win over the Spitfires before a sellout crowd of 3,923 at Compuware Arena.
The victory moves fifth-place Plymouth (now 31-21-1-3, 66 points) to within one point of Windsor (31-20-2-3, 67 points). The Whalers are tied with Erie (32-24-1-1), who won their fifth straight game tonight, 8-3, over Guelph.
The game was also Plymouth's 100th win against Windsor in the all-time season series with the Spitfires. The Whalers hold a 100-66-8-1 edge over Windsor in the all-time series dating back to 1990.
Plymouth overages led the scoring attack. First star Tyler Brown scored a goal (23) and added two assists. Third star James Livingston scored a goal (17) and fellow overage Robbie Czarnik scored what proved to be the game-winner and 30th of the season on the empty net. RJ Mahalak scored the other Plymouth goal, his sixth of the season. Second star Curtis Crombeen recorded two assists for the Whalers.
Jeff Brown scored twice for Windsor (14-15) and Derek Lanoue once (6).
Tyler Brown saw tonight’s game as a bit of redemption for the Whalers, who stormed back last night from a 3-1 deficit in Windsor to lead 5-3 in the third period only to lose to the Spits, 7-5.
“We got embarrassed last night in Windsor and we had a game plan going into tonight’s game,” Brown said after the game. “We wanted to get pucks deep on them and hammer their ‘D’. Every line we have is ready to get pucks deep and hammer. That’s our game.
“We know Windsor’s a tough team and it wasn’t going to be an easy effort, but everyone came to play tonight.”
Plymouth’s forecheck led directly to a 17-7 shots on goal advantage and the only goal of the first period at 15:55. The line of Brown, Czarnik, and Mahalak kept the play alive in the left corner in the Windsor zone for a sustained period before Czarnik – skating from the left goal line to behind the Windsor net – found Mahalak with a pass between his legs and Mahalak scored from just outside the blue crease, top-shelf, past Spitfire goaltender Jack Campbell.
Windsor came back to tie the game at 1-1 at 8:28 of the second period on a play set-up by Spitfire captain Ryan Ellis, who skated into Plymouth territory on the left wing and fed the puck in front of the goal. Lanoue shoveled the puck through traffic past Plymouth goaltender Scott Wedgewood.
The Whalers took a 2-1 lead on Livingston’s goal at 15:11 that was protested by the Spitfires. As Windsor forward Zack MacQueen was dumped behind the play in front of the Spitfires bench, Jamie Devane found Livingston breaking into the Windsor zone on the right wing. Livingston beat Campbell with a shot that popped the water bottle.
With Plymoth leading, 2-1, after forty minutes, Brown said the Whalers needed to buckle down and close the game out.
“We’ve had a tendency to let up when we have leads,” Brown said. “So we got together in the dressing room before the third period and talked about correcting our mistakes. I think we’re getting a little more mature in the dressing room and out on the ice and we’re starting to learn from our mistakes.”
Plymouth went back to the forecheck in the third period and Brown gave the Whalers a 3-1 lead at 5:22, batting home a rebound at the right wing side of the Windsor goal. Crombeen and Stefan Noesen assisted.
In addition, the Whalers defense went to work in the third period, keeping Windsor without a shot for the first 11 minutes of the period, but the Spits kept coming and with their defensemen pinching at every opportunity, Jeff Brown deflected Ellis’ shot from the high slot at 16:16 to cut the Plymouth lead to 3-2.
Windsor head coach Bob Jones pulled Campbell with a minute remaining for the extra attacker, but the Plymouth overages went to work again. Brown powered the puck out of his own zone away from a couple of Spitfires and found Czarnik in neutral territory, who eluded Jake Carrick’s dive at the puck at the penalty box area. Czarnik scored on the empty net 26 seconds left to give the Whalers a 4-2 lead.
Plymouth needed Czarnik’s goal because Jeff Brown scored again at 19:51 to cut the Plymouth lead to 4-3.
The Whalers were able to take to rest of the time off the clock for a well-earned victory. Plymouth outshot Windsor, 47-36.
Plymouth stays in action on Sunday afternoon at 4pm in Saginaw against the Spirit (36-16-3-1). The game can be heard on www.plymouthwhalers.com starting at 3:50pm.