The Saginaw Spirit (1-3-1-0) appeared to be hanging with one of the top Ontario Hockey League teams for two periods, however, the Barrie Colts (the top ranked OHL team with 11-points) scored 3-unanswered third period goals to build an insurmountable lead and defeat the Spirit 6-2 at the Dow Event Center tonight.
Young Spirit goal tender Cameron LaMour (starting in place of New Jersey Devils prospect Evan Cormier, who's nursing an injury) was tested early when Barrie rookie Andrei Svechnikov (the OHL's rookie leading goal scorer) scored his seventh goal of the season from Lucas Chiodo and Alexey Lipanov for a 1-0 Colts' lead just :53 seconds into the game.
Barrie was relentless on the forecheck early on, out-shooting the Spirit 15-4 in the first period alone, leading to a frustration slashing penalty by Saginaw defenseman Hayden Davis at the 10:19 mark, while Svechnikov (8) wasted little time garnering his second tally of the game, a power play goal, for his eighth of the season from Lipanov and Chiodo to take a 2-0 lead at 11:08 of the first period.
The Spirit took advantage of a late first period Barrie penalty when Marcus Crawford scored his second of the season, a power play goal, from Brady Gilmour and Blade Jenkins at 19:29 of the first period, heading into the first intermission with a 2-1 deficit.
Saginaw seemed to have turned the tables in the middle frame, out-shooting Barrie 17-3 in the second period, but it was the Colts who struck first, extending its lead to 3-1 when Kirill Nizhnikov (1) beat LaMour for his first goal of the season at the 8:26 mark of the second period.
Barrie's massive 6-foot-8 forward, Curtis Douglas was whistled for interference at 13:52 of the second period, leading to another power play goal when veteran Spirit forward Matthew Kreis (1) lit the lamp for the first time this season, with assists coming from Cole Coskey and Brady Gilmour at the 14:22 mark, cutting the Colts' lead to 1-goal (3-2) heading into the second intermission.
It suddenly felt like all of the air had been completely sucked out of the Dow Event Center after Barrie managed to score back to back goals, just 51-seconds apart, to take a commanding 5-2 lead early in the third period; the first from Douglas (3) at 5:22 and another from third year forward Zachary Magwood (4) at 6:13 of the final period.
Barrie capped the scoring with a power play goal midway through the final period when Lipanov (2) scored his second of the season from Jason Willms and Chiodo (his fourth assist of the night) at 13:44 of the third period.
LaMour stopped 29 of the 35 shots he faced in net for the Spirit, while Barrie goal tender Christian Propp turned away 32 of the 34 shots he saw between the pipes.
The Spirit will now have just a few days rest before heading north on I-75 for a weekday road game against the Soo Greyhounds at 7:05 pm Wed. at the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, ON.