by Brett Hedges
The Lance – Sports Editor
The Windsor Spitfires showed off a new piece to their lineup and improved their OHL regular season record to 8-3 on the strength of a 25 save shutout by goaltender Mike DiPietro at the WFCU Centre Oct. 20.
Cole Purboo’s fifth goal of the season proved to be the game-winner and newly acquired defencemen Sean Day scored in his debut as a Spitfire in Windsor’s 2-0 victory over the Frontenacs in front of 4.468 fans in attendance.
Coming into the contest, Spitfires head coach Rocky Thompson said he knew Kingston was a hard-working team who makes you work for every inch of ice and was happy with the way his team battled and competed throughout the contest.
“There were a number of physical plays out there tonight which was lacking in our performance last weekend and it was good for our guys to come together like that, work together and be rewarded together like that,” said Thompson. “”We knew we were going to have to earn it in the special teams department and they did a good job shutting our power play down. But we were able to inch our way forward and I still think we dictated the pace of the game, even in the third period.”
Purboo registered his third game-winning goal of his rookie OHL season when he opened the scoring at 7:32 of the first period, coming out of the penalty box and poking a loose puck behind Frontenacs goaltender Jeremy Helvig after a low point-shot from defencemen Logan Stanley. Three minutes later, Gabriel Vilardi won an offensive zone face-off back to Day, whose high wrist shot beat Helvig from the point to double Windsor’s lead and round out the scoring.
The New York Rangers selected Day with their third round pick, 81st overall, at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo earlier this summer. Day showed a strong two-way game throughout the contest as the 6’3″ defencemen seamlessly transitioned to the Spitfires lineup.“I thought Sean played extremely well, he had a very nice goal, he had a number of shots on net,” said Thompson. “He really hasn’t been able to understand our systems because he hasn’t practiced with us yet but he did a great job. I thought he worked really well and was definitely excited to be a part of our group so we’re excited to have him. I think we’re only just starting to scratch the surface.”
Windsor general manager Warren Rychel acquired Day from the Mississauga Steelheads in exchange for OHL draft picks late Oct. 18. Four selections over as many years will head to Mississauga while the Spitfires received two picks along with the 18-year old. Day made his presence felt immediately with his new club, picking up his first career fighting major in the first period and calling the experience a “fun” debut as he adjusts to the change of scenery.
“I think the guys and the coaching staff really made it easy on me, I just went out and played my game,” said Day. “You always want to prove why you were worthy of a trade, so I didn’t want anyone – in my first game – to have doubt in me. I think every shift I was coming back and asking questions so once I have a couple of practices and video sessions, I’ll have it down.”
Helvig finished with 29 saves in the loss as the Frontenacs record fell to 4-5-1. Next up, Windsor hits the road for their first trip of the season to the Dort Federal Event Centre for a battle with the Flint Firebirds Oct. 22. Puck-drop is 7:05 p.m.