Brady Gilmour's (25) empty net goal with 46 seconds left in regulation helped halt the recent Saginaw Spirit (23-29-7-2) losing streak at 3 games with a 3-1 victory over the Oshawa Generals in a matchup featuring two dynamic goal tender's at the Dow Event Center tonight.
Spirit goal tender Evan Cormier (a fourth round pick of the New Jersey Devils, 105 overall, in the 2016 NHL draft) was dominant between the pipes, stopping 26 of the 27 shots he would face.
Cormier's counterpart from Oshawa, Jeremy Brodeur (son of former New Jersey Devils' great Martin Brodeur) was equally impressive turning away 35 of the 37 shots he faced in net.
Following a scoreless first period, the Generals would take advantage of a penalty to Spirit captain Keaton Middleton (third round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 NHL draft) midway through the second when Oshawa's Eric Henderson (22) converted the power play for his twenty-second goal of the year to give his team a 1-0 lead at 10:14 of the second period.
The Spirit answered with just under 3 minutes to play in the second when Cole Coskey intercepted a pass at the Oshawa blue line and quickly got it to Kris Bennett, who found Hayden Hodgson (33) wide open in front of Brodeur.
Hodgson, just inches in front of Brodeur, only managed to get a little bit on the first shot, but followed with 2 more quick whacks as the puck crossed the goal line on his third attempt for a 1-1 tie game at 17:53 of the second period.
The Spirit carried its momentum into the third period where Bennett (22) added the eventual game winning goal with assists coming from C.J. Garcia and Hodgson for a 2-1 lead at 2:44 of the third period.
With just 7 games left in the 2016-17 OHL season, the Spirit (55 points) trail the Sarnia Sting (62 points) by seven points for the final western conference playoff spot. If the Spirit fail to catch the Sting, it would mark the first time since the 2004-05 season that it did not make the post season.
The Spirit will host the Sudbury Wolves at the Dow Event Center for a 7:05 pm face off tomorrow night to round out the weekend before traveling south to the Dort Federal Event Center to take on the Firebirds in the final I-75 divide cup series meeting at 7 pm Wednesday night in Flint.