The Saginaw Spirit (22-16-3-0) completely dominated the Windsor Spitfires (22-15-2-2) out-shooting the defending Memorial Cup champions by a lopsided 48-17 margin through 65-minutes of hockey, however, a red hot goal tender and a third period Windsor goal led to overtime, and eventually a shootout, where the Spirit emerged with a 3-2 shootout victory at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, ON Sunday afternoon.
With the two teams still tied 2-2 following the 5-minute overtime session, the game went to a shootout, where Windsor's Jake Smith and Saginaw's Blade Jenkins each missed on their respective shootout attempts, while Spirit goal tender Even Cormier stopped Mathew MacDougall, before Saginaw's top goal scorer, Cole Coskey fired a snap-shot past Spits' goal tender Michael DiPietro on the shortside, leaving Cormier to stop Tyler Angle for the Spirit shootout victory.
MacDougall (9) gave the Spitfires the first lead of the game in the final 49-seconds of the opening period when he scored his ninth goal of the season to give Windsor a 1-0 lead at 19:21 of the first period.
The Spirit out-shot Windsor by a 30-7 margin in the last two periods, finally getting one past DiPietro midway through the second period when Spirit forward Jake Goldowski (3) scored his third goal of the season to knot the game at 1-goal apiece, with assists coming from Danny Katic and Hayden Davis at 9:18 of the second period.
Shortly following Goldowski's goal, Coskey (20) scored his team-leading twentieth goal of the season from Mason Kohn to give the Spirit a 2-1 lead at 16:18 of the second period.
Windsor RW, and Plymouth, MI native Luke Boka (8) tied the game at 2-goals apiece with his eighth goal of the season at 6:29 of the third period, eventually forcing overtime.
Cormier stopped 15 of the 17 shots he faced in net for the Spirit, while his counterpart, DiPietro (a third round pick of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2017 NHL draft) turned away 46 of the 48 shots he saw from Spirit shooters Sunday afternoon.
The Spirit are off until a 7:30 pm face off on Thursday on the road against the Barrie Colts at the Barrie Molson Centre in Barrie, ON later this week.