Saginaw Spirit rookie Cole Perfetti (30) treated his family and friends an incredible home coming, scoring the game winning goal just 29-seconds into overtime on a feed from Bode Wilde and Owen Tippett to break a 4-4 tie and give the Spririt (39-15-2-3) a 5-4 OT victory over the Oshawa Generals (38-18-4-0) in front of 5,633 at the Tribute Communities Centre in downtown Oshawa, ON tonight.
Perfetti, who is from Whitby, ON (ten minutes from downtown Oshawa) is just a rookie, however, he's had many OHL “bilet-brothers” to learn from over the years as his parents have been a host family for the Generals since he was little, making tonight's overtime game winner that much sweeter for the recently turned seventeen year old, who set the Spirit record for goals by a rookie (29) on Saturday and is continuing his hot streak with 9-points (6-goals, 3-assists) in his last four OHL games.
The Spirit controlled the first twenty minutes, jumping out to an early lead when Saginaw captain Damien Giroux (25) opened the scoring with assists from Nicholas Porco and Albert Michnac for a 1-0 lead at 2:32 of the first period, while Camaryn Baber (6) followed with an unassisted goal, his sixth of the season, at the 11:47 mark to give the Spirit a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Oshawa answered with a goal from Cole Resnick (5) to cut the Saginaw lead to 2-1 at 4:55 of the second period, but Wilde (17) responded midway through the middle frame with his seventeenth goal of the season from Ryan McLeod and Tippett for a 3-1 lead at 12:02 of the second, before Spirit defenseman Reilly Webb (1) scored his first goal in a Spirit sweater with assists coming from Justin Murray and D.J. Busdeker for a 4-1 Saginaw lead at 16:15 of the second period.
The Generals controlled the final frame with 3 unanswered, starting with a power play goal from Anthony Salinitri to cut the Spirit lead to 4-2 at 12:27 of the third period, while Generals coach Greg Walters pulled goal tender Kyle Keyser for an extra attacker at the 18:50 mark, resulting in a goal from Danil Antropov to make it a 4-3 game at 18:38 of the third, before the extra attacker once again opened the door for Allan McShane, who tied the game at 4-goals apiece to force overtime with just 10-seconds left in regulation at 19:50 of the third period.
Both goal tenders were impressive with Keyser stopping 36 of the 41 shots he would face in net for the Gen's, while Saginaw starter Ivan Prosvetov turned away 40 of the 44 shots he saw in between the pipes for the Spirit.
The Spirit (currently in third place with 83-points in the western conference standings) will head to northern Ontario for a big inter-conference matchup with the Soo Greyhounds (currently in second place with 85-points in the western conference standings) at the GFL Memorial Gardens for a 7:07 pm face off in Sault Ste. Marie, ON Wednesday night.