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The Windsor Spitfires hit home in the first two rounds of the Ontario Hockey League draft on Friday.

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With the fourth overall pick, thanks to a lucky draw in a tied draft lottery, the Spitfires caught 6-foot-4, 182-pound forward Ethan Miedema of the Quinte Red Devils minor midgets.

“He has great offensive instincts and for a man of this size he’s a prototypical player,” said Spitfires general manager Bill Bowler. “He’s everything you’re looking for and again we knew when we took fourth place that we were lucky, but we didn’t realize how lucky we would be. He is a real talented player.

Bowler didn’t wait long to make his second selection. With the draft going in reverse order each round, Windsor held Barrie’s second-round pick in an earlier trade with Hamilton to defenseman Nathan Staios, which gave the Spitfires the 20e choose in the set. As Niagara lost its first-round pick to recruiting violations, the selection was essentially a first-round second pick.

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Bowler used the pick to catch 6-foot-5, 200-pound defenseman Bronson Ride of the Oakville Rangers minor midgets.

“Just a real big man with huge potential,” Bowler said. “To have a man of this size and ability and talent with where he is at this age and what he can become, we feel lucky to have him at 20.”

Miedema had been linked with the Kingston Frontenacs in fifth place, but the Cobourg native said he was not upset by the Windsor selection.

“Honestly, I have no words,” said Miedema, 16. “I’m just really excited. (Kingston’s) closer, but I’m just grateful to be in Windsor and can’t wait to start the season.

Some might try painting him with the same brush as fellow Spitfire left-winger Will Cuylle, but Miedema sees himself more as a playmaker who can also play center.

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“I would say I’m more of a playmaker than a shooter,” Miedema said. “I think my biggest strength is my IQ and the way I make games.”

With his size, Ride could also draw comparisons to former Spitfires defenseman Logan Stanley.

“I think (the aggressive part) of my game is advancing,” said Ride, 16. “I think I play very competitively and competitively and use my size and speed to my advantage.”

Ride posted strong offensive numbers in 2019-20 in the Bantam Major Tournament with seven goals and 31 points in 28 games.

“He’s the best,” Ride said of his selection by the Spitfires. “It’s more than I could imagine and it will be great.”

The Spitfires had no other choice in the first three rounds of Friday’s draft, as the club’s third-round selection was traded in 2018 as part of Cuylle’s acquisition program.

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The draft continues on Saturday with the Spitfires selecting twice in the fourth round and 14 times in total in the last 12 rounds.

“We added two players on Friday who will help our hockey club,” Bowler said. “We will continue to add what we hope to be OHL caliber players (Saturday).”

Charlie Paquette of Essex was the first local player to leave the field on Friday. The Windsor zone junior AAA Spitfires forward was caught by the Guelph Storm in the second round with the 31st choose in the set. It helped him achieve his pre-draft goal of being taken higher than his father Andy Paquette, who was the 32sd overall pick in 1985 draft by Sudbury Wolves.

“I had a bit of a good feeling,” said Paquette, 15. “I’ve heard a lot about them and I like it. I think it will be good.

Lighthouse Cove’s Declan Waddick went to the Niagara IceDogs with the second round final pick pick # 39.

“Honestly, I am honored to be chosen by Niagara,” said Waddick, 16. “They seem to be a great organization.

“I’m just happy with what happened and honored to be drafted. I spoke to them several times and just spoke to them on the phone. They seemed excited to fish me out and I’m excited to go.

jpparker@postmedia.com

twitter.com/winstarparker

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