If this year’s Windsor Spitfires hockey club is going to pull off a first round “upset”, or any subsequent round “upsets”, everyone knows that three players will be key: goaltender Cory Campbell, defenceman Tim Gleason, and forward/superpest Steve Ott.
Accepting this as fact is not difficult, it’s obvious. But what if….Campbell slumps, Gleason gets injured, or Ott finds himself more in the penalty box than on the ice? Would this automatically spell the end of Windsor’s chances?
No, and here are three reasons why:
1) Goaltender, Ryan Aschaber.
Ryan is now in his third year with the Spitfires. He’s played in more than 75 games over this time and sports a very decent 3.51 career goals against average. Not your everyday, average, backup goaltender. Furthermore, having had to take a back seat — first to Michael Leighton, and now to Cory Campbell — Aschie would have plenty to prove. Now throw in the fact he’s well rested and voila, the Spits have got themselves a goaltender who could take them just as far as Campbell — if need be.
2) Defenceman, David Bowman.
David is in only his second year with the Spitfires; but with confidence way beyond his two years of major junior experience, Bowman patrols the blueline both swiftly and aggressively. As in swiftly he races to the dump-ins, aggressively he fires the puck off the glass and out. Or swiftly he races to the front of the net, aggressively he tries to move his opponent. Now throw in the fact that a good playoff run might just be the determining factor on whether or not he gets drafted this summer and voila, the Spits have got themselves a defenceman who could take them just as far as Gleason — if need be.
3) Centreman, Kyle Wellwood.
Kyle is not as big as Steve Ott, nor as fast, nor as tough, nor as you fill in the blank. But, there is one thing he is, that his more famous linemate is not, the defending OHL scoring champ. Acquired from Belleville at the trade deadline, Wellwood is a game breaker. He’s exactly the kind of player who can turn an otherwise lacklustre performance into a complete masterpiece. Since Kyle’s arrival, he’s proven time and time again to be durable, consistent, and dangerous. Now throw in the fact that he’s going into the playoffs for the first time representing his home-town team in front of family and friends galore and the Spits have got themselves a centreman who could take them just as far as Ott — if need be.