The Saginaw Spirit (4-2-1-0) have vaulted into a three-way tie (with Kitchener and Guelph) with 9 points in the Ontario Hockey League's western conference standings after winning its third straight with a 4-3 road victory over the Erie Otters (1-4-0-0) in front of 2,689 at the Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, PA tonight.
With the game tied at 3-goals apiece early in the final frame, Spirit captain Damien Giroux (2) scored the eventual game-winning goal with assists coming from Friday night's OT goal scorer, Albert Michnac and Cole Coskey to give the Spirit a 4-3 lead at 7:29 of the third period.
After a scoreless opening period, the Spirit would jump out to a 2-goal lead following back to back tallies from Saginaw forward Nicholas Porco (7) who gave the Spirit a 1-0 lead with his sixth of the season from Blade Jenkins and Reagan O'Grady at the 1:33 mark, before following up with his seventh just 33-seconds later from Duncan Penman and Jenkins for a 2-0 Spirit lead at 2:06 of the second period.
The Otters answered when second year LW Emmett Sproule (3) put Erie on the board with his third goal of the season with an assist coming from Christian Girhiny to cut the Spirit lead to 2-1 at 6:31 of the second period.
Saginaw padded its lead midway through the middle frame when Spirit forward D.J. Busdeker (1) beat Otters goal tender Noah Battaglia for his first goal of the season with assists coming from Spirit rookie Cole Perfetti and Aidan Prueter for a 3-1 Saginaw lead at 11:45 of the second period, however, the Otters would cut the Saginaw lead to one goal later in the second when Erie Russian import draft pick Gera Poddubnyi (3) scored on his fellow countryman, Spirit goal tender Ivan Prosvetov, at the 15:00 mark of the second, cutting the Saginaw lead to 3-2 heading into the second intermission.
Erie knotted the game early in the final frame when rookie Czech import draft pick Petr Cajka (1) scored his first of the season from Kyle Maksimovich and Poddubnyi to tie the game at 3-goals apiece just :49 seconds into the third period, but Prosvetov stood tall down the stretch for the Spirit prior to Giroux's game winning goal, which gave Saginaw the lead later in the final period.
Battaglia stopped 22 of the 26 shots he faced in goal for the Otters, while Prosvetov turned away 28 of the 31 shots he saw in between the pipes for Saginaw tonight.
Playing in his fifth game as a defenseman with Erie this season, Saginaw native Brendan Kischnick (a sixth round pick of the Otters in the 2017 OHL priority selection draft) had a good game, finishing plus +1 on defense for the Otters tonight.
Saginaw will enjoy six days off until next week when the Spirit welcome a visit from the North Bay Battalion for a 7:05 pm face off at the Dow Event Center next Saturday night, prior to a 5:30 pm face off against the first place Kitchener Rangers at the Dow on Sunday evening.