The Saginaw Spirit
(1-2-1) nearly pulled off another 'Saturday night miracle,' similar to when the Spirit scored six unanswered goals for an amazing 7-6 OT victory over the Sarnia Sting nearly a year ago;
however, after the Spirit scored five straight goals to force overtime against the Guelph Storm tonight, Guelph forward Cedric Ralph ended any hopes of another miracle when he scored the game winning goal (his third of the game for a hat trick) at 3:35 of overtime to give the Storm a 6-5 OT victory over the Spirit in front of 3,013 at the Dow Event Center tonight.
Another miraculous comeback seemed quite plausible after Spirit forward Brady Gilmour (a seventh round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in the 2017 NHL draft) knotted the game at 5-goals apiece with just 8-seconds left in regulation, his first of the season, from Cole Coskey at 19:52 of the third period to force overtime.
The Storm had jumped out to a big first period lead when Isaac Ratcliffe (3) scored his third goal of the season at 10:55 of the opening frame, which was followed by a goal from Ralph (2) his first of the game (and season) for a 2-0 Guelph lead at the 12:49 mark, before a pair of Saginaw penalties painted the Spirit into a corner when Ralph (2) scored a power play goal, his second goal of the game at 17:10, which was followed by another power play goal from Alexey Toropchenko (2) at 18:51 of the first period to give the Storm a commanding 4-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
After forward Mason Primeau (1) extended the Storm lead to 5-0 at 12:03 of the second period, the Spirit started to chip away at the Guelph lead when Nick Porco (3) got the Spirit on the board with his third goal of the season at the 15:56 mark with assists coming from Blade Jenkins and Reagan O'Grady, before Coskey (2) slammed home a nice centering pass from Jenkins at 17:08 to make it a 5-2 game, while Storm forward Tag Bertuzzi was whistled for a 2-minute hooking penalty at 19:32 of the second period, giving the Spirit a power play to start the final period.
Guelph RW Nate Schnarr picked up an additional hooking penalty early in the third, giving the Spirit a 5 on 3 man-advantage, which set the stage for Saginaw defenseman Bode Wilde (a second round pick of the New York Islanders in the 2018 NHL draft) who scored his first career OHL goal, an unassisted power play goal to cut the Guelph lead to 5-3 at 1:07 of the third period, before Coskey (3) added another power play goal with assists from Albert Michnac and Wilde at 15:33 of the final period to cut the Storm lead to 5-4 prior to Gilmour's game-tying goal in the final seconds of regulation.
Storm goal tender Nico Daws stopped 28 of the 33 shots he faced in net for Guelph, while Saginaw goalie Ivan Prosvetov (a third round pick of the Arizona Coyotes in the 2018 NHL draft) turned away 23 of the 29 shots he saw in between the pipes for the Spirit tonight.
The Spirit are off until a mid-week visit to take on rival, the Flint Firebirds in the 2018-19 Coors Light I-75 Divide Cup Series opener at 7 pm at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint, MI Wednesday night.