Whalers, Spits Battle to 5-5 Tie Before Sellout in Livonia
Photos - (Top) Plymouth rookie Mathieu Henderson is all smiles after assisting on Francesco Vilardi's goal in the first period. In the shot (from left) Connor Carrick, Henderson, Vilardi, Matt Mistele and Connor Chatham. (Bottom) - The sellout crowd at eddie Edgar Ice Arena. Photos by Pena Laverty.
LIVONIA, MI - The Plymouth Whalers could play their rivals, the Windsor Spitfires, in a parking lot in the middle of July and sparks would fly in a competitive game.
Tonight - on August 31 - the Whalers and Spits played to a 5-5 tie not in a parking lot, but in front of a sellout of nearly 1,000 fans at Eddie Edgar Ice Arena in Livonia.
The game was played for charity. One hundred percent of the proceeds were donated to the Livonia Fallen Heroes Monument and the Larry Nehasil Park in Livonia.
A price couldn't be assessed to the smiles of Plymouth and Windsor fans, plus some other fans perhaps seeing the Ontario Hockey League for the first time. It's great to know that Whalers hockey is back for the season.
If the proceeds raised in the game went to charity, Plymouth and Windsor were not quite as cordial. The game featured runs for both teams. The Whalers raced to a 3-0 lead early in the second period only to see Windsor score four straight goals to take their first lead of the game late in the second period. Plymouth then came back to re-take the lead a 5-4 before Josh Ho-Sang tied the game with 41 seconds left.
Plymouth received two goals from OA center Zach Lorentz and singles from Carter Sandlak, Francesco Vilardi and Matt Mistele.
Besides Ho-Sang's equalizer, Slater Koekkoek, Steven Janes, Nick Ebert and Brady Vail also scored for Windsor.
All four goaltenders played in the game. Alex Nedeljkovic started for the Whalers and left half-way through the game in favor of Zach Bowman, who made his Whalers debut. Nedeljkovic allowed four goals, Bowman one. Dalen Kachemy started for Windsor and allowed three goals; Brendan Johnson made his Spitfires debut and allowed the final two Plymouth goals.
Outside of the goal crease, head coaches Mike Vellucci and Bob Boughner played rookies making their respective OHL debuts. Besides Bowman, Connor Chatham, Cullen Mercer, Bryce Yetman, Spencer Lee, Josh Wesley, Mathieu Henderson, Yannock Rathgeb and Vince Scognamiglio all played in the first OHL games for the Whalers and did not look out of place.
Plymouth and Windsor meet again on Monday in Windsor at 2 pm (www.plymouthwhalers.com).