The Saginaw Spirit (8-5-1-1) picked up a much needed 5-4 shootout victory over the second place Guelph Storm (9-4-3-1) in front of 2,836 at the Dow Event Center in downtown Saginaw tonight.
With the game knotted at 4-goals apiece following the end of overtime, a pair of dueling goal tender's put on a show in the shootout; as Spirit netminder Ivan Prosvetov (a fourth round pick of the Arizona Coyotes in the 2018 NHL draft) stopped the first six Guelph shooters he would face, while his Guelph counterpart, Nico Daws matched Prosvetov, stoning the first six Saginaw shooters he saw, setting the stage for Spirit defenseman Mason Millman, who beat Daws, scoring the only shootout goal of the game, before Prosvetov preserved the win with his seventh consecutive shootout save.
The Spirit had fallen behind late in the third when Guelph forward Domenico Commisso (2) scored his second goal of the season with assists coming from Ryan Merkley and Tag Bertuzzi for a 4-3 Storm lead at 15:05 of the final frame, before Spirit defenseman Reagan O'Grady (1) answered with his first tally of the season just 76-seconds later with assists coming from Blade Jenkins and Duncan Penman to tie the game at 4-goals apiece at the 16:21 mark, forcing overtime and eventually the shootout.
Saginaw would strike first in the game, taking advantage of an early Guelph penalty in the first 2-minutes of the game when Jenkins (3) scored a power play goal with assists from Nicholas Porco and Brady Gilmour for a 1-0 Spirit lead at 3:20 of the opening period, however, the Storm answered during a 5 on 3-man advantage, when Guelph forward Nate Schnarr (11) scored a late power play goal with 2-seconds remaining in the first frame, which knotted the game at 1-goal apiece at 19:58 heading into the first intermission.
The Spirit pulled out in front again midway through the second when Camaryn Baber (1) scored his first goal of the season from Ryan Stepien and Millman for a 2-1 lead at 12:01 of the second period.
Guelph, however, would draw even with the Spirit shortly following the Baber goal in the middle frame when Storm forward Zach Poirier (3) answered with his third tally of the season to tie the game at 2-goals apiece at the 13:23 mark, before the Spirit took the lead once again when Cole Coskey (7) scored his seventh of the season from Hayden Davis and Albert Michnac for a 3-2 Saginaw lead at 14:45 of the second period.
The Storm responded midway through the final frame when Poirier (4) buried his second of the night to tie the game at 3-goals apiece at 11:51 of the third period, prior to the Commisso and O'Grady goals, which forced OT.
Saginaw will be right back at it in less than 24-hours when the Ontario Hockey League leading Ottawa 67's (14-3-1-0) come to town for a 5:30 pm Sunday face off right back here at the Dow Event Center tomorrow afternoon.