Saginaw Spirit v. Barrie Colts (2/17/11)

    icon Feb 18, 2011
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The Saginaw Spirit got an unexpected battle Thursday February, 17th as they took the ice against the Barrie (ONT.) Colts. Barrie has the worst record in the entire OHL. I’m sure that former Spirit player’s Alex Lepkowski and Matt Ashman were anxious to send a message to the team that traded the pair to their current team. On January, 10th (the trade deadline for the OHL), Saginaw traded the two defencemen, along with two future draft picks in exchange for current Spirit Defenceman Dalton Prout. All three would make their mark on Thursday’s game.

Ashman looked poised to send his message early as he assisted on Barrie right wing, Petr Beranek’s goal at 6:45 of the 1st period. Barenek’s goal gave Barrie an early 1-0 lead. Lepkowski would wait until the 3rd period to try and send his message in a different way, with his fists. I guess “try” was the operative word in Lepkowski’s case. At 4:53 of the 3rd period, the 6foot 4inch 212 pound Lepkowski dropped the gloves with his former teammate, 6’ tall 194 pound, Anthony Camara. The smaller Camara cought Lepkowski with a nice left to the nose, drawing blood and eventually getting the best of the much larger Lepkowski before referee’s stepped in.

After falling behind 1-0, the Spirit finally woke up. Just 57 seconds after Barrie scored, the Spirit quickly responded. At 7:42 of the first period, Saginaw’s Vincent Trochek scored his 22nd goal of the season. Garret Ross and Ben Chiarot assisted on the Trochek goal that tied the game 1 to 1. With just over 2 minutes left in the 1st period, Saginaw Captain Jordan Szwarz scored the prettiest goal of the night. Current Spirit Defenseman (also the former Captain of the Barrie Colts), Dalton Prout, was breaking out of the Saginaw zone when he sent a crisp pass up the left side to a streaking Josh Shalla. Shalla took the puck deep into Barrie’s zone. At the left faceoff circle, Shalla cut toward the Slot, drawing 2 Colt defenders with him. He then found Szwarz, who was trailing the play and was now camped out just 3 feet inside the Blue Line. After the nice tape to tape pass from Shalla, Szwarz quickly deposited a nice wrist shot, stick side high into a wide open net giving the Spirit a 2-1 lead at the 17:20 mark of the 1st period. Just One minute and thirty four seconds later, Saginaw’s Anthony Camara extended the Spirit lead. Matthew Sisca and Ivan Telegin got the assists on Camara’s goal. By the end of the first period Saginaw had a comfortable 3-1 lead.

The 2nd period was all Barrie as Stephen Beyers got his team to within 1 goal at the 12:57 mark. Coach Todd Watson was switching lines up, trying different combinations of guys. He had a line consisting of Vincent Trochek, Ivan Telegin, and Brandon Saad on the ice. The 3 Forwards were working very well together as they put on a sustained attack in the Barrie zone. I’m afraid that the 3 stars stretched out their shift a little too much and stayed out longer than they should have. Colts Center, Colin Behenna stole the puck and found Steven Beyers streaking through the neutral zone. Beyers found himself one on one with Saginaw Defenseman Brad Walch. The Saginaw forwards were gassed from the long shift and could not back check effectively, while (Saginaw Native) Walch, backed too deep into his own zone before making a move on Beyers. Beyers used Walch as a screen and put the biscuit in the basket on Spirit net minder, Tadeas Galansky. The goal brought the Barrie Colts to within 1 goal of the mighty Saginaw Spirit. I’m quite sure that Saginaw Head Coach, Todd Watson had some “choice” words for his Hockey Club as they headed for the locker room. The Spirit only managed 8 shots throughout the whole 2nd period against the OHL’s worst team.

The 3rd period was much better for the Spirit. They outshot Barrie 19 to 13. The superb play of Barrie net minder John Chartrand kept the Colts in the game, as it remained a one goal contest throughout most of the final period. Coach Watson went into Hockey’s version of the “Prevent Defense.” Some in the hockey world call it a “left wing lock” or a “neutral zone trap.” Essentially, the coach puts 3 Defensemen back and has just 2 Wingers attacking, instead of the normal setup of 3 Forwards attacking and 2 Defensemen back. A coach will use this when they are protecting a lead and are not too concerned about scoring. There was no quit in this gritty Barrie squad though. With a couple minutes left, the Colts pulled their Goaltender to gain an extra offensive attacker. With 8 seconds left in the game, Saginaw’s Vincent Trochek was whistled for delay of game, because he took his sweet time standing back up after falling on top of one of the Barrie players in the corner. The Penalty gave Barrie a 6 on 4 advantage and a glimmer of hope. That hope was shattered when Saginaw’s John McFarland stole the puck and raced to center ice, where he sealed the deal by scoring an unassisted empty net goal with just 1 second remaining in the game. The final score was Saginaw Spirit 4 and The Barrie Colts 2.

Saginaw finished the game with 4 goals on 40 shots, while Barrie scored 2 goals on 34 shots. Saginaw hits the ice next on Saturday February, 19th as they take on the Sarnia Sting. As always, the puck will drop at 7:11 p.m. at The Dow Events Center.

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