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Cundari leads the way as Spitfires edge Barrie 5-4 and take 2-0 series lead

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BARRIE, Ont. - The Windsor Spitfires got offence from their defence and put the Barrie Colts in a big hole.

Defenceman Mark Cundari scored short-handed and added two assists as Windsor downed Barrie 5-4 to take a 2-0 lead in the Ontario Hockey League final Thursday night.

"Short-handed goals are always a confidence booster for your team," said Cundari. "It was a timely goal for us, it got us going and got the road jitters out of us."

"We picked it up from there, got a lead and never looked back."

The St. Louis Blues prospect also made an impact in Tuesday's Game 1, scoring with 3:16 left in regulation to force overtime. The Spitfires took that contest 4-3 and will host Game 3 on Sunday afternoon.

"Our confidence and experience plays a huge factor in this series," said Cundari. "We went on a run last year, won the Memorial Cup and that confidence is always with you. We know what it takes to win, we've got a championship squad."

Fellow defenceman Marc Cantin also scored for Windsor, while forwards Zack Kassian, Scott Timmins and Dale Mitchell had the other goals. Philipp Grubauer made 33 saves for the Spitfires.

Kyle Clifford had two goals for Barrie, while Alexander Burmistov and Taylor Carnevale also scored. Goaltender Mavric Parks stopped 17 shots in the loss.

Windsor led 3-2 after two periods and Timmins took advantage of a bad line change to split Barrie's defence for a breakaway goal at 7:48 of the third.

Carnevale brought the Colts within one when he batted in T.J. Brodie's rebound to make it 4-3 and energize the Barrie crowd.

That excitement was short-lived, however, as Mitchell tucked a shot under the crossbar a minute later to restore Windsor's two-goal lead.

"Dale Mitchell scores big goals for the Windsor Spitfires," said coach Bob Boughner. "He's a great guy to have the puck on his stick at crucial times."

Clifford's scored his second of the night 1:30 later to make it 5-4 when he snapped a shot over Grubauer's right pad to keep Barrie's hopes alive.

But Windsor held off the Colts for the remaining 4:21 to take a commanding lead in the series.

Cundari's short-handed goal opened scoring and silenced the Barrie crowd 7:41 into the first. The defenceman corralled the loose puck in the neutral zone, took a few strides over the blue-line and snapped a wrist shot behind Parks.

Burmistov replied for Barrie on the power play with 33 seconds left in the first. After taking a pass from Matt Kennedy, Burmistov used two Windsor defenders as a screen and sent a slapshot past Grubauer.

The Spitfires' defence came through again early in the second when Cantin rifled a shot through traffic off a faceoff to give Windsor a 2-1 lead. Timmins and Cundari picked up the assists.

Cundari earned his third point of the night by robbing Barrie's Stefan Della Rovere of the puck and sending and outlet pass to Kassian. The bruising forward moved in all alone and flipped a backhand over Parks to make it 3-1.

The Colts responded 1:04 later when Clifford jammed the puck across the goal-line after Grubauer found himself drawn out of position by Bryan Cameron's deke behind the net.

The Spitfires were 0-for-3 on the power play, while Barrie was 1-for-5 with the man advantage.

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