Ottawa vs. Saginaw Spirit - Feb. 26

Posted In: Sports, Local Sports, Saginaw Spirit,   By: Jason Marcoux

27th February, 2011     0


The Saginaw Spirit played one of their most dominating games of this season on Saturday evening.  Unfortunately, “dominating” doesn’t always translate into a “victory,” as the Spirit lost their third game in a row on this very icy and snowy Saturday night in late February at The Dow Event Center.  The Spirit, in first place in the OHL’s West Division of the Western Conference with 78 points, took on the Ottawa 67’s.  The team from Canada’s Capital City, (equivalent to USA’s Washington D.C.) is in first place in the OHL’s East Division of the Eastern Conference with 77 points.  The two teams match up pretty evenly as far as records go.  On this particular night, records or statistics would not be a factor.
 
Nine times out of Ten, if I were to report that one team had outshot another team by a margin of nearly Two and a half times to One, the outcome would be that the Team with the most shots on goal would have won the Contest.  Not this night in Downtown Saginaw.  The Spirit outshot Ottawa in dominating fashion.  Saginaw had a whopping 48 shots on goal, while only allowing a miniscule amount of 20 shots for Ottawa.  The Ottawa 67’s however, won this contest 4 to 2.  On paper, Saginaw seemed to have dominated the 67’s, but watching the game it didn’t seem so lopsided.
 
Saginaw came out flying.  You could tell that Coach, Todd Watson had his boys ready to fire on all cylinders as they were playing good hockey at both ends of the ice.  They were making quick, thirty second, changes on the fly and for the better part of the first period, they looked as though they were on their way to halting a two game losing streak.  By the end of the 1st period Saginaw had a titanic amount of 18 shots on goal, while holding Ottawa to 8 shots.  With an 18 to 8 shot advantage, one would think that the Spirit could muster at least a goal, but by the end of the 1st, the score was tied at zero.
 
You could see that the Spirit players were just as frustrated as the (sold out) crowd down at The Dow.  It seemed as if the Spirit were fumbling passes and missing shots, but that was a testament to the solid defensive play of the 67’s.  Of course, the play of Ottawa goalie, Petr Mrazek, was a big part of the great defensive effort as well.  Ottawa did a very good job of limiting the Spirit shots to a very poor quality.  They did a fantastic job of collapsing into the middle whenever the Spirit had an opportunity to score. 

Saginaw did manage to finally get one past the tough Mrazek at the 9:04 mark of the 2nd period though.  Dalton Prout was set up on the left point as he went “D to D” over to Ben Chiarot who was camped out on the blue line at the right point.  Chiarot found Saginaw’s Brandon Saad with a hard pass down low and across the ice at the far left side dot, where Saad put the “Biscuit in the Basket,” giving the Spirit a 1-0 lead halfway into the 2nd period. 

Just a few minutes later, the wheels would start to come off for the Spirit in a crazy, penalty filled 2nd period that found two of Saginaw’s players with ten minute misconducts.  At 10:29 of the 2nd period, Saginaw’s Brandon Archibald received a 2 minute penalty for cross checking.  The game started to get a little bit “Chippy” at this point.  Eventually, Saginaw would kill that (Archibald) penalty, but 20 seconds after the P.K., Ottawa would tie the game up on a goal by Remy Giftopoulos.  As they dropped the puck at center ice following the Giftopoulos goal, Saginaw’s Sloan Stewart and Ottawa’s Ben DuBois would drop the gloves in, what seemed like, a very short lived, uneventful fight.  Stewart and DuBois obviously both got 5 minute fighting penalties and Stewart got an extra 2 minute minor for instigating the fight.  The Referee also managed to give Stewart and Saginaw Defenseman, Peter Hermenegildo ten minute misconduct penalties as well. 

Something must’ve been said to the Referee to land Hermenegildo in the box as well, because it did not seem as if he was involved in any way.  With just over 3 minutes left in the 2nd period, Ottawa’s Brett Gustavsen scored a goal to put the 67’s up by a score of 2 to 1.  The 2nd period was much closer in the shot total for Ottawa, as they had the exact same number of shots as they did in the 1st (8), but they held Saginaw to only 12 shots. The 2nd period ended with Ottawa ahead of Saginaw 2-1.
 
Saginaw came out strong again in the 3rd period, as they outshot the 67’s by a huge margin.  In the 3rd period,  Saginaw had 18 shots while holding Ottawa to only 4 Shots.  As I stated earlier, it was the “quality” of those shots that made the difference.  At the 6:30 mark of the 3rd period, Ottawa got what seemed to me as the “Game changing” Goal.  Ottawa caught the Spirit in a line change while they were in transition, which caused a brief 3 on 2 rush. 

Saginaw’s Garret Ross came off of the bench quick enough to help, but the impending 3 on 2 rush must’ve been enough for the Spirit backup Goalie, Tadeas Galansky to lose track of his angle on the shooter.  At the top of the right circle, just inside the blue line, Ottawa’s Ben DuBois took a low snap shot that beat Galansky stick side low.  One on One with the shooter, and with Ross coming off of the bench to back check, Galansky should have made the save on DuBois’ shot.  A 2 goal advantage in the third period must’ve seemed like a daunting task for the Spirit, but they never gave up the fight.  With a minute left in the game, Coach Watson pulled Galansky for the extra attacker and with 15 seconds left in the game, Spirit Captain, Jordan Szwarz scored to get the Spirit to within one goal.  It was too little too late for the Spirit though, as Ottawa’s Ryan Martindale scored an empty net goal with 3 seconds left, sealing the Spirit’s fate.
 
It’s amazing to me that the Spirit can outshoot a team 48 to 20 and still lose the game.  You can’t take anything away from Ottawa’s Goal Tender, Petr Mrazek, as he played an amazing game.  He stopped 46 of the 48 shots he faced against our strong Saginaw team.  It just goes to show you that if a team can get a goal at just the right opportune time, and they limit those “high number” of shots that they face to some very “low quality” shots, then it IS possible to be dominated in the “shot category” and still come away victorious.
 
Saginaw will take to the ice Tuesday morning, as they try to stop this 3 game losing skid.  They will take on their inter-division rival, The Plymouth Whalers at The Dow Event Center.  The puck drops at 10:45 a.m.

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