The skidding Saginaw Spirit (27-26-8-0) dropped its sixth straight game, facing another red hot goalie, as Windsor Spitfires' goal tender Michael DiPietro (a third round pick of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2017 NHL draft) earned his league-leading seventh shutout for a 4-0 Windsor (29-27-3-2) victory over the Spirit in front of 4,816 at the Dow Event Center tonight.
The Spirit, who haven't won a home game since a 6-5 shootout victory over the Soo Greyhounds on Valentines Day, are in desperate need of some offense, having only scored 1-goal inside the Dow Event Center in the last four home games.
Saginaw started out very strong tonight, out-shooting the Spit's 7-2 in the first half of the opening period, when Windsor forward Tyler Angle (10) picked up a pass from 2014 Spirit 12th round draft pick Igor Larionov (son of former Detroit Red Wings' legend Igor Larionov) as Angle walked around the Saginaw defense before beating Spirit goal tender Evan Cormier over the right shoulder for a 1-0 lead at 13:39 of the first period. Connor Corcoran also assisted on the Angle goal.
Spirit forward Mason Kohn nearly scored on a rebound late in the middle frame, but DiPietro appeared from out of nowhere, stopping Kohn's shot with the blade of his skate, as the Spitfires' picked up the puck in transition, crashing the Saginaw net and forcing Cormier out of the crease, while Windsor forward Cody Morgan (10) scored on a wrap-around deke goal from behind the net to give Windsor a 2-0 lead late in the middle frame with an assist coming from Cole Purboo at 15:03 of the second period.
In the first minute of the final period, Windsor RW Luke Boka (14) scored his fourteenth goal of the season to give the Spit's a 3-0 lead at the :47 second mark of the third period.
Midway through the final period, Spitfires' forward Luke Kutkevicius (12) disrupted a Spirit breakout at the blue line, stealing he puck and taking off on a breakaway, where he beat Cormier with a deke move for a 4-0 lead at 9:40 of the final period.
Cormier stopped 20 of the 24 shots he saw in net for the Spirit, while DiPietro turned away all 20 Saginaw shots he faced in between the pipes for Windsor to earn his seventh OHL shutout this year.
With tonight's loss, the Spirit (62-points) dropped from the sixth playoff spot, to the seventh spot behind the Guelph Storm (64-points) and 1-point ahead of Windsor (61-points) in the OHL's western conference standings.
Saginaw will look to end this current six game skid with a favorable matchup tomorrow against the Sudbury Wolves (15-37-10-0) who dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Flint Firebirds at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint, MI tonight.
The Wolves will make their way north up I-75 for a 5:30 pm face off against the Spirit, right back here at the Dow Event Center tomorrow afternoon.
Nouvel H.S. pulled out a 1-0 victory over Copoco Credit Union capturing the 2018 Rescue Ministries Broom Ball Championship during the first intermission: