The Saginaw Spirit qualified for the OHL post season for the eighth consecutive year with a 5-3 victory over the Guelph Storm in front of 4,672 fans at the Sleeman Centre Saturday night in Guelph, Ontario. With the win, the Spirit increased their lead to ten points over the ninth place Windsor Spitfires in the western conference playoff battle. With only four regular season games remaining, Windsor could only earn eight more points, making it impossible for the Spit’s to catch Saginaw.
Terry Trafford scored his eleventh goal of the season to start the Spirit scoring at 7:35 of the opening period, giving the Spirit a 1-0 lead. Eric Locke scored his forty-second goal of the season at 14:43 of the opening period, extending the Spirit lead to 2-0. Third year Spirit defenseman, Jacob Ringuette then scored his first career OHL goal at 4:01 of the second period, giving the Spirit a comfortable 3-0 lead. Spirit captain, Garret Ross scored his forty-second goal of the season, a shorthanded goal at 14:13 of the second period, as the Spirit skated into the second intermission with a 4-0 lead. Locke added his second goal of the night, his forty-third of the season, when he scored a power play goal at 3:10 of the final period.
The London Knight’s are guaranteed to be the top seed in the western conference and the Spirit are guaranteed to be the number eight seed, so the Spirit already know who their first-round opponent will be. The rest of the western conference playoff teams are set, but the seeds are yet to be decided. With three games to play in the 2013 OHL regular season, here are the current standings for the western conference: 1. London-99 pts. 2. Plymouth-87 pts. 3. Owen Sound-88 pts. 4. Kitchener-83 pts. 5. Guelph-81 pts. 6. Sault Ste. Marie-76 pts. 7. Sarnia-74 pts. 8. Saginaw-68 pts. *Saginaw could conceivably catch the Sarnia Sting and tie for the seventh playoff seed; but, Sarnia holds a better head-to-head record, winning four-of the-five times the two western conference teams played this season.
According to a press release by Saginaw Spirit director of Broadcasting/Communications, Leigh Cunningham, the Spirit will kick off the first round of the 2013 OHL post season against the London Knights on the road; then, the first two Spirit home playoff games are set for Tuesday March, 26 at 7:11 p.m. and Thursday March, 28 at 7:11 p.m. Saginaw Spirit season ticket holders will be able to claim their playoff tickets up until the extended deadline of Wednesday March, 13 and playoff tickets will then go on sale for the general public on Thursday March, 14 2013. Playoff ticket prices will remain the same as in the regular season.
Spirit fall to the Whalers 7-5 Sunday afternoon:
The Spirit lost 7-5 to the Plymouth Whalers Sunday afternoon in front of 3,094 fans at the Compuware Arena in Plymouth, Mi. Garret Ross scored his forty-third goal of the season; while Eric Locke scored his forty-forth goal of the season, as the two Spirit veterans close in on Josh Shalla’s single season goals record of 47 goals. The pair will have three more regular-season games, and at least four playoff-games to catch Shalla’s record. The Spirit will be in Sarnia, Ontario on Thursday this week as they play the Sarnia Sting at 7:05 p.m. The Spirit will then return to the Dow Event Center for the final two games of the OHL regular season; as they take on the Kitchener Rangers Friday night at “The Dow,” and finally; they will get an early look at their first-round playoff opponent, the London Knights on Saturday night for the final regular season game.