The Saginaw Spirit (3-8-2-0) held a 2-0 lead past the midway point of the third period, before relenting back to back goals late in the third period, along with another in overtime, suffering a 3-2 OT loss to the Kingston Frontenacs (6-5-1-2) in front of 3,226 at the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston, ON this afternoon.
Frontenacs' RW Jason Robertson (8) beat Spirit goal tender Evan Cormier (a fourth round pick of the New Jersey Devils in the 2016 NHL draft) for his eighth goal of the season with an assist from Lynus Nyman at 2:42 into the overtime session for the OT game-winner, sending the Spirit home with at least 1 point in the OHL standings.
The Spirit had taken a late first period lead when a Marcus Crawford shot from the point ricocheted off Cole Coskey (7) and trickled past Kingston goal tender Jeremy Helvig for Coskey's seventh goal of the season and a 1-0 Saginaw lead at 19:30 of the first period. Recently acquired Spirit forward Daniil Vertiy also assisted on the Coskey goal.
After a scoreless second period, the Spirit extended its lead when Blade Jenkins (2) buried his second goal of the season from D.J. Busdeker and Damien Giroux for a 2-0 lead at 3:47 of the third period.
Kingston out-shot the Spirit by a 42-25 margin throughout the three periods today, including a lopsided 19-8 margin in the final period alone, ultimately getting to Cormier (who was brilliant as usual today) however, the Frontenacs' relentless pressure eventually put Kingston on the board when Tyler Burnie (5) cut the Saginaw lead to 2-1 at 11:23 of the third period.
With just under 2-minutes left in regulation, Kingston RW Ryan Cranford (4) scored his fourth goal of the season at 18:06 of the third period to tie the game at 2-goals apiece, forcing overtime where Robertson would end it with his OT winner.
Cormier once again kept the Spirit in another close game, turning away 39 of the 42 shots he saw in net this afternoon.
The Spirit will now have just a few days to regroup and get up for a very big rivalry match-up in the first I-75 Divide Cup Series meeting of the 2017-18 season when the Flint Firebirds make the 45-minute drive north up the I-75 corridor for a 7:05 pm face off on Wednesday at the Dow Event Center in downtown Saginaw.