The Flint Firebirds finally have a win against the Windsor Spitfires this season.
It took six games and eight rounds of a shootout on Saturday with the Firebirds emerging with a 3-2 win over the Spitfires before 2,865 at the Dort Financial Center.
The West Division-leading Firebirds had dropped the first five meetings with the Spitfires this season and teetered on the edge of dropping another on Saturday.
The Spitfires led by a single goal on two occasions, but Flint battled back to tie the game each time.
Rookie Ryan Abraham opened the scoring 91 seconds in the second period, but Flint tied it on a goal by Tag Bertuzzi.
Will Cuylle made it 2-1 for Windsor, but Riley Piercey pulled the Firebirds even with a power-play goal late in the second period.
Daniel D’Amico scored in the second round of the shootout to put Windsor ahead, but Flint’s Sahil Panwar scored in the third round to extend the shootout and the Firebirds finally won it in the eighth round on a goal by Samuel Assinewai.
Goalie Luke Cavallin also played a huge role in the Firebirds’ win with 51 saves through overtime and another seven saves in the shootout. Windsor goalie Matt Onuska made 32 saves through overtime and stopped six-of-eight shots in the shootout.
The Firebirds now hold a seven-point lead on the Spitfires, who hold four games in hand on Flint.
The Spitfires return to action on Monday against the Saginaw Spirit at the WFCU Centre. Game time is 2:05 p.m.
Firebirds 3 Spitfires 2 (SO)
Windsor 0 2 0 0 0 – 2
Flint 0 2 0 0 1 – 3
First period: No scoring. Penalties: Johnston W (tripping) 3:23, Petrovski F (tripping) 5:42, Bertuzzi F (roughing) 9:49, Renwick W (holding) 15:57.
Second period: 1. Windsor, Abraham 6 (Perrott) 1:31, 2. Flint, Bertuzzi 12 (Panwar) 5:50, 3. Windsor, Cuylle 28 (Ribau, Perrott) 9:30, 4. Flint, Piercey 21 (Hayes, Panwar) 18:19 (pp). Penalties: Panwar F (too many men) 15:38, Peer W (tripping) 17:56.
Third period: No scoring. Penalties: Currie W (slashing) 6:41, Perrott W (interference) 10:16, Abraham W (unsportsmanlike conduct), Hayes F (unsportsmanlike conduct) 14:53.
Overtime: No scoring. Penalties: None.
Shootout: For Windsor: Johnston (no goal), D’Amico (goal), Sobolev (no goal), Maggio (no goal), Zito (no goal), Cuylle (no goal), Abraham (no goal) and Renwick (no goal). For Flint: Hayes (no goal), Keppen (no goal), Panwar (goal), Othmann (no goal), Kuzmin (no goal), Bertuzzi (no goal), Slavic (no goal) and Assinewai (goal).
Game stats – SOG – Windsor 15 21 13 4 – 53 Flint 9 13 9 3 – 34 Goal (shots-saves) – Windsor: Onuska (L,2-4-0-1) (34-32). Flint: (W,22-9-1-3) (53-51). Power play (goals-chances) – Windsor 0-3. Flint 1-5. Referees: Nicholas Bet (79) and Joe Monette (25). Linesmen: Kyle Flood (66) and Colton Giacumbo (64). Att.: 2,865 at Dort Financial Center.