The Windsor Spitfires and the Hamilton Bulldogs faced off in a heated series that went a full seven games in last year's Ontario Hockey League Championship. The Bulldogs came away with the championship, leaving the Spitfires filled with emotion, which has carried over into this season. The Spitfires roster isn't exactly the same as it was a few months ago in the championship, but NY Islanders prospect and Spitfires captain Matthew Maggio remains and he did not hold back both on and off the ice.
Folloing back-to-back goals in the second period by the Bulldogs, the Spitfires held on to a 3-2 lead that the Bulldogs had been heavily pressuring. Maggio severed that pressure when he tacked on an insurance goal for the Spitfires to give Windsor a 4-2 lead with about four minutes to go in the second period. The Bulldogs didn't let up, however, inching closer to tying things late in the third period when Hamilton scored on the power play. Luckily, Windsor stopped Hamilton in their tracks quickly responding with a goal 21 seconds later to retrieve their two goal lead. Maggio hit the empty-net goal and sent Windsor on their way to victory doubling up Hamilton 6-3.
As captain of the Spitfires, Maggio is a pretty composed player, even for a ripe 20-year-old. Still, Maggio couldn't help but show his emotion after putting the nail in the coffin for Saturday nights rivalry game against the Bulldogs and didn't hesitate to express himself when asked about it during the postgame, either.
“Obviously, everyone knows what happened last year with them,” Maggio said. “I’m not going to lie, I don’t think there’s a team that I can’t stand more than (Hamilton). I was looking forward to this one for a long time. Obviously playing in Hamilton earlier this year and we lost, I took that one really deep. That one really upset me for a few weeks. Coming into today, I had this one circled for a long time and I just wanted some revenge."
Maggio certainly used his thirst for revenge to his advantage ending the night with three points (two goals and one assist). He now sits at the top of the OHL with 74 points holding a three-point cushion over Sarnia Stings Ty Voit, and he leads the league in goals with 39, also maintaining a three-tally lead in that category as well.
Maggio, Shane Wright, and the Spitfires are certainly on their way to the playoffs with a 10-point lead for first-place in the OHL's West Division. Maggio's revenge tour doesn't end here as he has his sights set on the OHL championship. After that, it feels likely we'll see him in the orange and blue, whether it be Bridgeport or Long Island.