Spitfires one win away

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

WINDSOR, Ont. -- If you can't beat him, you might as well beat him.

Not the philosophy Barrie Colts coach Marty Williamson adheres to but he couldn't prevent his frustrated players from doing something, anything, to try and shake up Windsor Spitfires netminder Philipp Grubauer.

But by the time Darren Archibald took a run at Grubauer behind the Windsor net, the damage was already done.

Grubauer was terrific in the Spitfires' 5-2 win over the Colts, giving the defending Memorial Cup champions a 3-0 lead in the Ontario Hockey League best-of-seven final.

He had plenty of help from forward Adam Henrique who scored three goals. Justin Shugg and Scott Timmins had the other Windsor goals.

Zac Rinaldo and Stefan Della Rovere scored for the Colts.

Grubauer faced 44 Colts shots. He reserved his biggest saves for crucial times when the Colts threatened to make a game of it.

His performance merely added to the frustration the Colts are feeling in this series. They believe they've played well enough to have earned something but are looking at elimination with a team that was built to win a championship.

When all the Colts efforts Sunday amounted to nothing yet again, Archibald decided to shake things up.

With 40 seconds left and the Spitfires up 5-2, Archibald ran over Grubauer behind the net.

Grubauer stayed down. Spitfires' Craig Duininck fought Archibald.

When the pulling and tugging was done, Archibald had earned a match penalty, Grubauer skated to the bench and coach Bob Boughner replaced him with Troy Passingham for the final few seconds. "I saw it coming but it doesn't bother me. We have to win the next game," Grubauer said.

The incident capped off a game that threatened to break out on several occasions. It was chippy, intense and the Colts grew more frustrated as it progressed. Down 3-0 early, they rallied to 3-2 in the second period and should have tied it when Archibald had a great chance. He was stopped by Grubauer.

A half-minute later, Timmins managed to slip a wrist shot between the legs of Peter Di Salvo who was starting in place of Mavric Parks.

"We're very frustrated," Williamson said. "At times we think we deserve a better fate . . . They got a great performance from their goaltender and he frustrated us at times. We thought we could have an advantage and it hasn't been an advantage for us."

Grubauer has played with increasing confidence since not starting Game 3 in the Kitchener series.

"I refocused," Grubauer said. "I'm just in the zone right now."

For Di Salvo, it was his first game back since being injured in early April. Now Williamson has to decide whether he stays with him or goes back to Parks for the must-win Game 4 Tuesday.

Williamson was clear on his position on Archibald's hit. "I don't like it."

Williamson said the turning point was Grubauer's save on Archibald.

Now the Colts have to do what Windsor did against Kitchener in the Western Conference final -- win four straight.

"We have some character guys in the dressing room," said Della Rovere. "We haven't lost two games in a row this season (the Colts actually did early in the season.) It won't be easy . . . we just have to play one period at a time."

It was the seventh win in a row for the Spitfires.

Henrique has been their best playoff performer and outside of Grubauer, he was the best player on the ice Sunday.

"Coming off being three down and being up three, it kind of puts it in perspective," Henrique said.

"The elimination game is the hardest game to win. We know that. Our backs have been against the wall many times the last few years. We know they are not going to give up."


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