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Canadian Press
Nov 22, 2006, 10:44 PM EST

PLYMOUTH, Mich. (CP) - Rookie Vern Cooper's goal early in the third period proved to be the winner as the Plymouth Whalers held off a late rally and edged the Windsor Spitfires 5-4 in Ontario Hockey League action Wednesday night.

Cooper, Plymouth's first-round selection in last May's OHL draft, had staked the Whalers to a 5-1 lead with his rebound marker at 5:37 of the third before the Spitfires scored three straight.

"We got up early and guys started taking it easy," Plymouth GM and head coach Mike Vellucci said. "You can stress it all the time but when you have your way early, you start to do things by yourself and not with teamwork. You start taking short cuts. Then you take some stupid penalties because of it."

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