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Hayes' late goal helps Whalers tie series against Spitfires with 3-2 victory

NHL.com @NHL

PLYMOUTH, Mich. - Ryan Hayes' goal with less than five minutes in regulation proved the winner as the Plymouth Whalers edged the Windsor Spitfires 3-2 in Ontario Hockey League playoff action on Tuesday.

The Whalers and Spitfires are tied 2-2 in their Western Conference semifinal series, with Game 5 set for Windsor on Thursday night.

Hayes picked up a loose puck in the right wing corner behind the goal line and snapped a shot that caromed off Spits goalie Andrew Engelage and into the short side with 4:26 left to break the deadlock and give Plymouth the win.

Plymouth led 2-0 late in the second period, with Matt Caria pacing the offence with a goal and assist, and Chris Terry adding the other.

But with 1.3 seconds left in the middle stanza, Dale Mitchell tipped in Rob Kwiet's point blast to get Windsor on the board.

With less than seven minutes remaining Eric Wellwood drew the Spitfires even finding a loose rebound off Mitchell's soft wrister in front of Whalers netminder Matt Hackett, knifing it between Hackett's pads for the equalizer.

Hackett, the game's first star, finished with 37 saves earning the victory while Engelage stopped 28 shots in the loss.

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