Sault Ste. Marie, ON:
The Saginaw Spirit (4-2) made history, advancing to the Ontario Hockey League western conference finals for the first time in the organization's 17-year history with a 4-games-to-2 (best of seven) series win following a 5-0 shutout victory over the Soo Greyhounds (2-4) in front of 4,576 at GFL Memorial Gardens in Sault Ste. Marie, ON tonight.
Spirit goal tender Ivan Prosvetov (a fourth round pick of the Arizona Coyotes in the 2018 NHL draft) was outstanding, turning away all 34 shots he would face en route to his first ever OHL playoff shutout in net for Saginaw tonight, while his counterpart, Matthew Villalta of the Soo, stopped 21 of the 25 shots he would see in between the pipes for the Greyhounds.
After a scoreless first frame, Spirit forward (and Soo native son) Nicholas Porco (3) scored the eventual game winning goal with assists coming from fellow Soo native Camaryn Baber and D.J. Busdeker for a 1-0 Spirit lead at the 3:00 minute mark of the second period.
Saginaw forward Ryan McLeod (4) would give the Spirit a 2-0 lead later in the second frame with assists from Albert Michnac and Busdeker at 16:08 of the second period.
The Spirit pulled ahead midway through the third when captain Damien Giroux (6) intercepted a pass in front of the Soo net and scored an unassisted goal for a 3-0 Saginaw lead at 11:28 of the final period, before Bode Wilde (6) followed with an empty net goal from Michnac and Cole Coskey at 18:25 of the third period, while Jake Goldowski (2) sealed the deal just 25-seconds later with a goal over Villalta's shoulder at the 18:50 mark.
Saginaw must now wait in order to see its western conference finals opponent after the Guelph Storm battled back from being down (3-games to none) against the London Knights to tie the series (3-games apiece) forcing a decisive game-7 at Budweiser Gardens in London, ON this Tuesday night, with the winner advancing to play the Spirit in the western conference finals.
If the Storm manage to beat London on Tuesday night, the Spirit will have home ice advantage and game-1 of the western conference finals will begin on Thursday April 18, at The Dow Event Center in downtown Saginaw; however, if London beats Guelph on Tuesday night, the Knights will then have home ice advantage and game-1 will be set for Friday April 19, at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario.
Video highlights of Saginaw Spirit 5-0 victory over Soo Greyhounds: