Special teams continue to be a problem for the Saginaw Spirit (1-2-1-0) who were 0 for 5 on the power play (zero for 25 this season) in a 6-3 loss to the Guelph Storm (2-1-0-1) who, in contrast, scored 4 power play goals on 5 chances at the Dow Event Center tonight.
The Storm took an early lead midway through the opening period after second year Spirit forward D.J. Busdeker was called for a 2-minute boarding penalty around the 14:41 mark, just 10-seconds before Guelph right wing Zach Poirier (1) scored a power play goal, his first of the season at 14:51 of the first period for a 1-0 lead.
Shortly after the Poirier goal, Spirit left wing Cole Coskey picked up a pass from Hayden Davis and Brock Hill from behind his own net and proceeded to skate coast to coast, along the left boards, past 3 Guelph defenders, before making a sharp cut across the front of the net where he shook off another 2 defenders, while managing to get off a shot on Storm goal tender Anthony Popovich, who made the initial save, however, Coskey picked up his own rebound and went top-shelf over Popovich's left shoulder for his third goal of the season at 16:39 of the first period, knotting the game at 1-goal apiece heading into the first intermission.
Guelph converted another power play chance when defenseman Garrett McFadden (2) scored his second goal of the season, a PPG, to give the Storm a 2-1 lead at 3:36 of the second period.
The Storm added to its lead when 6-foot-6 left wing Isaac Ratcliffe (a second round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, 35 overall, in the 2017 NHL draft) scored his second goal of the season for a 3-1 lead at 9:10 of the second period.
Spirit rookie Nicholas Porco (Saginaw's No. 1 pick in the 2017 OHL priority selection draft) managed to get the Spirit to within 1-goal (3-2) of Guelph, after a battle in front of the net before banging home a rebound for his first career OHL goal with an assist coming from Marcus Crawford at 10:10 of the second period.
Guelph picked up the physical play midway through the second period, leading to another Spirit slashing penalty, as Storm left wing Alexey Toropchenko (4) scored the power play goal to give his team a 4-2 lead heading into the second intermission.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound CHL import RW from Russia, Toropchenko (a fourth round pick of the St. Louis Blues in the 2017 NHL draft) took the physical play to the extreme, crashing the net with more frequency as the second period continued, colliding with Cormier multiple times, with only one goal tender interference penalty, however, his strategy apparently paid off as the veteran Spirit net minder would remain in the Saginaw locker room following the second intermission.
Spirit backup goal tender Brendan Bonello made his first appearance this season, replacing Cormier to start the third period, where he was tested early and often, before Guelph forward Cedric Ralph (1) scored his first goal of the season to extend the Storm lead to 5-2 at 3:29 of the third period.
Barret Kirwin (1) rounded out the Storm scoring with Guelph's fourth power play goal of the night, extending the lead to 6-2 at 8:03 of the third period.
Spirit rookie free agent Ben Badalamenti (2) scored his second goal in as many nights with an assist from Damien Giroux, capping the scoring and a 6-3 game at 15:11 of the final period.
Cormier stopped 20 of the 24 shots he would face in net for the Spirit throughout his two periods in goal, while Bonello turned away 12 of the 14 shots he saw between the pipes in the final period for the Spirit.
The Spirit will have 7 days off until Sat. Oct. 7, when the Barrie Colts visit for a 7:05 pm face off at the Dow Event Center, before heading north Wed. Oct. 11, for a 7:05 pm road game against the Soo Greyhounds at the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, ON.