Hockey wins over Windsor

Kevin Shields and Kevin Shields

The Falcon hockey team ended their preseason schedule strong and netted a 3-2 overtime win over the University of Windsor Friday night.

Freshman forward Derek Whitmore scored his second straight overtime winner just 2:53 into the extra frame off a pass from Michael Hodgson and Jonathan Sigalet to give the Falcons the win.

“I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Whitmore said. “Minnabarriet drove to the net hard and Hodgie (Hodgson) got the puck to him and I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time and I was fortunate to grab the OT winner.”

The Falcons out-shot the Lancers 46-13 on the night, but solid play in net kept Windsor in the game.

Reese Kalleitner made 43 saves and turned away all 31 shots the Falcons had in the first two periods.

“We got great goaltending and that’s what you have to do if you want to be competitive,” Windsor head coach Vern Stenlund said. “Tonight we had a lot of penalties; we ran out of gas and played against a team that’s well-conditioned. When fatigue starts to make and take penalties the goalie has to be your best penalty-killer and he was.”

“I thought we made some good shots, but their goaltender was outstanding tonight,” head coach Scott Paluch said. “He (Kalleitner) made some saves that were excellent types of saves. It was a great test for us. It’s the same type of goaltending we’re going to see night in and night out in our conference.”

After two scoreless periods, the Falcons took advantage of a power-play to grab a 1-0 lead.

Bryan Dobek put in a rebound off a shot from the right point by Jeremy Bronson that beat Kalleitner on the left side. Taylor Christie also picked up an assist on the power-play goal at the 4:41 mark.

Just over a minute later, Christie would add to the lead. After a turnover in front of the Lancer net, he took a pass from Rich Meloche and put his shot past Kalleitner on the right side. Ben Geelan picked up an assist on the play as well as the Falcons took a 2-0 lead with just 14 minutes left.

However, the Lancers wouldn’t go away as they struck late in the period on two of their seven power-plays.

Graeme Lindsay beat Jordan Sigalet in front off a pass from Joe Mollard to make it 2-1 with just under six minutes left.

Then just over two minutes later Kyle Trudell tied the game on a hard-slapper from the right-side.

The game went to overtime after regulation ended in a 2-2 tie.

Windsor carried the momentum into the five minute extra period, but the Falcons battled through and got the goal from Whitmore to earn the 3-2 win.

“I feel good that we were able to play an exhibition game under these types of circumstances,” Paluch said. “Coming down the stretch and having to make plays down the stretch, I think that’s a good thing for a team that has a lot of young guys. Putting them in a situation where coming down the stretch they have to do what’s necessary to win a hockey game. It turned out pretty good that way.”

Penalties have been big in all the college hockey games this season with the new focus on penalties, such as interference, and it showed with both teams combining for 47 minutes in the box.

The Falcons went 2-14 on the power-play and generated 18 shots on those power-plays. They killed off five of seven power-plays the Lancers had, including a five-on-three in the second period.

“It was a big part of the game,” Paluch said. “When you’re looking at 21 power-plays combined, that’s a lot of hockey playing on the special teams. I thought for the most part our power-play created a lot of good chances. Then we did some excellent things on the PK to give ourselves some short-handed chances. I think we got a pretty good flavor of how the new rules are going to affect the game.”

Paluch dressed all eight freshmen for the exhibition and likes what he is seeing from his young players. “We played a lot of young players tonight,” Paluch said. “13 of our 18 skaters tonight were freshmen and sophomores. We saw some real positive things and we feel it will create some real good competition with our team as we move forward.”

Whitmore was one of those eight freshmen and talked of how it was a dream-come-true to be playing for the Falcons.

“You walk in that dressing room and see all those orange and black jerseys hanging up and I mean it’s a dream come true,” Whitmore said. “I came into a great program and I’m getting a chance to play right away and carry a big role as a freshman. I just felt like a little kid on Christmas morning tonight…taking the ice in front of all the fans.”