The Saginaw Spirit (21-13-3-0) trailed 2-0 after two periods, but battled back with 3-third period goals, before giving up a game-tying goal (3-3) in the final 67-seconds of regulation, which would send the game into overtime, where Saginaw defenseman Marcus Crawford scored the OT game-winner to give the Spirit a 4-3 overtime victory over the Erie Otters (12-20-6-1) in front of 3,638 at the Dow Event Center this evening.
Erie came very close to ending it in overtime, however, Crawford went down to a knee and blocked a shot in front of Spirit goal tender Evan Cormier, then picked up the puck, passing to veteran forward Cole Coskey skating into the Erie zone, where Coskey returned the puck to a trailing Crawford (11) who buried a one-timer for his eleventh goal of the season and a 4-3 Spirit overtime victory at 3:29 of the OT session.
After a scoreless first period, Erie took an early lead when second year defenseman Ryan Martin (1) scored his first career OHL goal for a 1-0 Otters' lead at 11:02 of the second period, before veteran forward Kyle Maksimovich (22) extended the Erie lead to 2-0 with an assist from Ivan Lodnia at 15:20 of the second period.
Spirit head coach Troy Smith switched up the lines, adding Blade Jenkins to the Brady Gilmour and Mason Kohn line to start the third period and it instantly paid off when Gilmour (8) buried his eighth of goal the season from Kohn to cut the Erie lead to 2-1 just 1:00 into the third period.
The same line would light the lamp again, just 63-seconds later, when Gilmour (9) scored his second of the night, this one from Jenkins to tie the game at 2-goals apiece at 2:03 of the third period.
Just a few minutes later, second year Spirit forward Max Grondin (5) scored his fifth goal of the season from Jake Goldowski to take a 3-2 lead at 5:35 of the third period.
Erie pulled goal tender Anand Oberoi at the 18:40 mark of the third period for an extra attacker, which paid off when Lodnia (18) scored his eighteenth of the season at 18:53 of the third period to tie the game at 3-goals apiece, forcing overtime where Crawford would end it.
Cormier stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced in net for the Spirit, while Oberoi turned away 31 of the 35 shots he saw in between the pipes for Erie.
The Spirit will be back in action when Sarnia comes to town for a Saturday night game starting at 7:05 pm tomorrow night at the Dow Event Center.
Spirit prepare to hit the ice in the second period: