Friday, March 31, 2006

Whalers lose late in Windsor; series tied

Cal O’Reilly’s goal with 49 seconds remaining in regulation snapped a 3-3 tie and the Windsor Spitfires defeated the Plymouth Whalers, 4-3, Thursday night before 3,041 at Windsor Arena.

Plymouth and Windsor are now tied in the best-of-seven OHL Western Conference quarterfinal playoff series at two games each.

James Neal scored twice for Plymouth and now has three goals in the playoffs. Jared Boll added his first goal of the playoffs for Plymouth, while Evan Brophey added two assists.

Besides O’Reilly, Cory McGillis, Bryan Bickell and Patrick Davis (Sterling Heights) added goals for Windsor.

There was never more than a one-goal differential in the game. Boll appeared to score a spectacular goal on an end-to-end rush (pictured above) for Plymouth late in the third period that would have given the Whalers a 4-3 lead, but referees Ian Smith and Darren Price waved the goal off with no explanation given to the crowd or to Plymouth head coach Mike Vellucci.

The net appeared to come off its moorings.

McGillis scored on a scramble in front of the Plymouth goal to give Windsor a 1-0 lead at 9:00 of the first period. Plymouth tied the game at 1-1 at 14:04 of the first period when Neal ripped a shot from the right face-off dot by Windsor goaltender Anthony Guadagnolo. Neal gave Plymouth a 2-1 lead of a power play at 10:01 of the second period when he tipped Steve Ward’s shot from the point by Guadagnolo. But Windsor tied the game a 2-2 at 12:29 of the second period on a power play goal by Bickell, who ripped a shot from the slot by Plymouth goaltender Justin Peters.

Boll gave Plymouth a 3-2 lead at 3:07 of the third period when he took Chris Terry’s pass from behind the net and jammed the puck by Guadagnolo. But Windsor re-tied the game at 3-3 when Davis intercepted a Plymouth clearing pass at the blue line and beat Peters with the shot at 8:51.

After Boll’s goal was waved off, O’Reilly scored the game-winner off a face-off in the Plymouth zone. O’Reilly followed the puck in the middle of a scramble and stuffed the puck by Peters.

Plymouth called a time-out and pulled Peters with 41.2 seconds left in regulation and had a two-man advantage when Garlock was penalized for cross-checking at 19:37. But the Whalers couldn’t find the equalizer.

Windsor outshot Plymouth, 37-26.

Plymouth hosts Windsor on Saturday night in Game 5 of this series at 7:30 pm at the Compuware Sports Arena.

Photo by Walt Dmoch.

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