Windsor Spitfires put on show for A’burg fans

By Joel Charron

Windsor Spitfires president and head coach Bob Boughner stood behind the glass during the team’s annual Blue-White game at the United Communities Credit Union Complex on Friday evening and liked what he saw.

“I loved the energy,” said Boughner. “For a Blue and White over the last four or five years it probably had the highest tempo and energy. You can see a lot of young guys that are looking to make an impression.”

They certainly made an impression with the Amherstburg fans, as residents watched eight different players find the back of the net as Team White bullied their way to a 6-3 win over Team Blue.

The Blue and White game is a chance for the franchises’ rookies to show the bosses what they can bring to the team. Some of the rookies who dazzled the crowd were 2011 first-round pick forward Jordan Maletta, 2011 second-round pick goaltender Jordan DeKort and 2010 eight-rough pick, forward Ty Bllke.

Boughner said a lot of the rookies raised the eyebrows of the Spitfires brass.

“Jordan Maletta was sick for the first couple of days, but you can see what he can do out there tonight,” said Boughner. “Jordan DeKort is going to be the goalie of the future. Hunter Smith and (Sam) Studnicka impressed me. Again, you look at last draft at guys like (Ty) Bilke and (John) Bowen, guys like that, step up and be a part of it. It’s encouraging to see our foundation is going to be here for the next few years.”

The game saw plenty of goals and much to the excitement of the crowd plenty of fists being thrown.

“It was good,” said veteran Brady Vall. “There’s a lot of good talent out there. A lot of guys were stepping up and there were a lot of fights going on. It was kind of a dirty game, but both teams played hard and the goalies played well. I thought it was a pretty good game.”

Boughner he wasn’t surprised at the amount of fights because the team is young and there are still roster spots on the line.

“They know there are some spots open this year because we have a young team,” he said. “We’re sort of going back to that rebuilding phase. A lot of those guys are tired. They’ve been through a really physical grind over the last three or four days. They emptied it out on the ice tonight and that’s nice to see from a scouting stance and from a coaching stance. It shows a lot of character.”

Grant Webemin, Ryan Watson, Tony Calderone, Stephen Alonge, along with Vall and Malette each scored a goal for Team White. Eric Palazzolo and Brandon Feasey each recorded a tally for Team Blue.

Boughner said he’s excited to be behind the bench of his Spitfires after taking a year with Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL.

“It felt real good on the ice the other day, running practice and it solidifies that I made the right choice to come back,” he said. “It’s my passion and something I love to do. To be back on the coaching staff with the guys around us, it’s awesome.”

Although Boughner said he would have liked to see the game played on the Complex’s main ice pad, he praised the facility and its fans.

“It’s beautiful,” he said. “It’s my first time here and they did a great job. To see the fans come out and jam this place, it’s been great and we definitely would love to come back.”

Amherstburg Minor Hockey’s vice-president of travel, Paul Tonietto said the game had to be moved to the Athletic Club Rink because the cooling system for the main ice pad wasn’t working properly, which caused the ice to be too soft.

“We are disappointed that we couldn’t get them on the larger rink,” said Tonietto. “That cooling system is the second one installed in Canada so we are going to have problems with it from time to time.”

Despite the ice pad problem, Tonietto said the Spitfires were very happy with the facilities and are hoping to come back.

The Windsor Spitfires kick off their season on Sept. 22 against the Guelph Storm at the WFCU Centre.

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