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Oliver Peer got the Windsor Spitfires rolling with a short-handed aim within the membership’s 6-5 shootout win over the Sarnia Sting in exhibition play on Thursday on the WFCU Centre. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star
The Windsor Spitfires’ run to final year’s Ontario Hockey League ultimate was fuelled by the league’s most potent offence.
However, with the standing of defending league scoring champion Wyatt Johnston and overage prospect Matthew Maggio uncertain as they attend NHL camps, it stays to be seen how the Spitfires will fill any potential offensive voids on the roster this season.
“I think we’re going to be just as good,” Spitfires’ centre Jacob Maillett stated. “Our younger guys look really good and the older guys are taking huge steps.
“I think we can nonetheless be a really good offensive staff. I suppose we can still be an offensive team and win games.”
So far in exhibition play, the Spitfires have backed up Maillet’s phrases. With Thursday’s 6-5 shootout win over the Sarnia Sting at the WFCU Centre, the Spitfires had produced 25 targets in five exhibition games for an average of 5 goals per video games. Scoring probabilities will get more durable when the common season arrives, but it’s a optimistic signal for a staff that averaged 4.49 objectives per recreation through the regular season in 2021-22.
“As of now, from what I’ve seen, we’ve got a fairly good offence and we’ve scored lots of objectives in the pre-season,” Spitfires’ ahead Alex Christopoulos said. “Guys are transferring the puck and you don’t see a lot of targets with no assists.”
A two-time OHL scoring champion, Spitfires’ head coach Marc Savard makes no secret about his love for the offensive recreation. Players like Maillet and Christopoulos found new life in Windsor last season after coming over in trades.
“Honestly, just alternatives,” the 19-year-old Maillet mentioned. “In Guelph, I didn’t play much or get opportunities and then I came to Windsor and Marc and the staff had a lot of belief in me immediately and put me out in opportunities that I took advantage of and had confidence. If you’ve got confidence, you may be the best player on the ice.”
A former second-round pick by Guelph in 2019, Maillet had 12 points in 74 video games over parts of two OHL seasons earlier than arriving in Windsor. He put up 25 points in 46 games with the Spitfires, added one other 11 factors in 25 video games within the playoffs and believes he can take on a fair larger function.
“Even if (Johnston and Maggio) are back, that’s a step I need to improve on and tackle extra of an offensive function,” Maillet mentioned. “Back in the day, in minor midget, that was kind of my position. Lead the team in factors and contribute on offence.”
Christopoulos was another to seek out extra life offensively in Windsor. He had 18 factors in 78 games in North Bay over elements of two seasons, but discovered himself on the top line at times with Johnston and Will Cuylle final season and posted 13 objectives and 22 factors in 47 video games. He tied for third on the group with 11 objectives in 25 playoff games.
“It was confidence boosting and the opportunity,” the 19-year-old Christopoulos stated. “I wasn’t getting a lot ice in North Bay, however right here you need to work exhausting and be assured and make performs.”
A former 49-goal scorer in minor midget, Christopoulos additionally believes he has extra to offer together with several other players that he believes will look to take one other step ahead this season.
“I think I might help the staff so much, particularly if Johnny and Magg don’t come back, however guys like (Ryan Abraham, Ethan Miedema (both former first-round picks) and Maillet can, too,” Christopoulos said. “There’s a couple youthful guys as well and Smitty (Colton Smith) has been pretty good.”
“We simply have a hardworking group and we really work pucks within the offensive zone and need it on our stick.”
Christopoulos and Miedema scored within the shootout to secure Windsor’s third exhibition victory in five games. Abraham had two targets and an help for the Spitfires, who had a one-goal lead on five occasions. Oliver Peer, Noah Morneau and Christopher O’Flaherty added single objectives for the Spitfires, who held a 34-30 edge in pictures.
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