The Saginaw Spirit (16-10-2-2) kicked off a weekend stretch of 3-games-in-3-nights in spectacular fashion when Saginaw rookie Josh Bloom (2) scored on a penalty shot with just 31-seconds left in overtime to give the Spirit an exciting 4-3 OT road victory over the Windsor Spitfires (16-6-4-0) at the WFCU Centre in downtown Windsor, ON tonight.
A Spirit penalty shot was awarded late in OT when Windsor forward Tyler Angle was whistled for slashing Bloom at 4:29 of the extra session, setting up an unforgettable moment for the left-shooting Saginaw rookie, who started out really wide to the left, before angling back through the left circle toward the net, where he forced Spits' goal tender Xavier Medina to butterfly early with a very subtle shoulder hesitation, faking to the backhand then flipping the puck over Medina's outstretched glove for, arguably, the biggest goal of his young career.
It was Bloom's second career Ontario Hockey League goal; giving him the unique distinction of having scored his first 2 OHL goal's on a penalty shot, after the Oakville, Ontario native scored his first career OHL goal on a penalty shot in a 6-4 loss to the Soo Greyhounds back on Sep 28, earlier this year at the Dow Event center.
The Spit's had jumped out to an early lead when Egor Afanasyev (9) scored his ninth of the year to give Windsor an early 1-0 lead at 16:38 of the opening period, but Saginaw forward Ethan Cardwell (9) who was fresh off a two game suspension (for a slew-foot penalty against the Guelph Storm three games ago) scored his ninth of the season with an assist from D.J. Busdeker to knot the game at 1-goal apiece at 18:31 of the first period.
Just 12-seconds following Cardwell's goal, Angle (15) put the Spitfires back on top (2-1) with his fifteenth of the season at 18:43 of the first period, before Spirit forward Camaryn Baber (4) answered with the equalizer (2-2) just 17-seconds later on a feed from Reilly Webb at the 19:00 minute mark, sending the two teams into the first intermission tied at 2-goals apiece.
The Spirit took the lead early in the second frame when Cole Coskey (15) gave Saginaw a 3-2 lead with an assist coming from Danny Katic at 6:39 of the second period, while Afanasyev (10) added his second of the night at 8:09 of the second, knotting the game at 3-goals apiece prior to a scoreless third period, which would eventually force overtime and ultimately lead to Bloom's OT heroics.
Medina stopped 21 of the 25 shots he would face in net for the Spitfires, while Saginaw goal tender Marshall Frappier turned away 23 of the 26 shots he saw in between the pipes for the Spirit.
The Spirit will now prepare for a home-in-home (2-game series) against the Flint Firebirds in the I-75 Divide Cup Series with a 7 pm face off at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint Friday night, before wrapping up the 3-in-3 with a return visit from the Firebirds for a 7:05 pm face off at the Dow Event Center in downtown Saginaw on Saturday night.