The Saginaw Spirit scored twice in the third period to erase a 1-goal deficit and win its fourth straight game, skating to a 3-2 victory over the Guelph Storm in front of 3,393 fans at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph, ON tonight.
The Spirit, however, still remain 6-points behind the Sarnia Sting (who beat the Windsor Spitfires 5-3 tonight) for the final western conference playoff spot.
Spirit defenseman Filip Hronek (a second round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in the 2016 NHL draft) broke a 2-2 tie when he scored the eventual game-winner to give the Spirit a 3-2 lead at 8:12 of the third period.
The Storm jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a power play goal following a penalty to Spirit rookie Max Grondin midway through the first period when Isaac Ratcliffe (24) scored his twenty-fourth goal of the season at 12:46 of the first period.
Spirit forward Kris Bennett (25) tied the game up at 1-goal apiece when he beat Guelph goal tender Anthony Popovich with a backhand shot, glove-high, for his twenty-fifth goal of the season from Mike Davies and Hayden Davis just 2:55 into the second period.
The Storm would regain the lead (2-1) later in the second period when forward Cedric Ralph (7) beat Spirit goal tender Evan Cormier for his seventh goal of the season at the 15:27 mark of the middle frame.
The Spirit caught a break early in the third period when Radcliffe was whistled for a 2-minute slashing penalty 4:10 into the third period.
Saginaw's leading scorer Hayden Hodgson (36) converted the power play goal to tie the game at 2-goals apiece for his thirty-sixth goal of the season from Hronek and Matthew Kreis at 5:18 of the third period leading to Hronek's game-winner nearly three minutes later.
Hronek, who is Saginaw's second leading scorer, paced the Spirit offense with 1-goal and 1-assist tonight, giving him 60-points this season.
His 60-points moves him into second place between former Spirit defenseman Patrick McNeil (who is first and third with 58-points in the 2006-07 season and 77-points in the 2005-06 season) on the Saginaw Spirit all-time leading scorer list for a defenseman.
Cormier continued his dominance with another strong performance between the pipes, stopping 24 of the 26 shots he faced in net tonight.
The Spirit have just four regular season games left to make up 6-points on the Sarnia Sting for the eighth and final western conference playoff spot.
Sarnia only has three games left, so the Spirit could gain at least 2 of those points by winning all of its four remaining games and would then have to hope Sarnia somehow loses 2 of its 3 remaining games.
The Spirit will look to make it five straight with a trip to the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound, ON to play the Owen Sound Attack at 7:30 pm tomorrow night.