Sault Ste. Marie, ON:
The Saginaw Spirit (3-0) have taken a commanding 3-games-to-none lead in the Ontario Hockey League's western conference (best of seven) semi-final series, battling back from a 3-goal deficit in the first period en route to a 7-5 game-3 victory over the Soo Greyhounds (0-3) in front of 4,074 at GFL Memorial Gardens in Sault Ste. Marie, ON tonight.
Sault Ste. Marie had owned the early part of the first period, getting 3-unanswered goals from Morgan Frost (1:07 of the first period), Barrett Hayton (2:15 of the first) and Jaromir Pytlik (at 8:49) for a 3-0 Soo lead, before the Spirit managed to get on the board late in the first when Cole Coskey (1) scored his first of the playoffs with assists coming from Justin Murray and Blade Jenkins at 18:01 of the first period, cutting the Greyhounds lead to 3-1 heading into the first intermission.
The Spirit added another goal early in the middle frame when D.J. Busdeker (2) scored his second of the playoffs with assists from Soo native Nicholas Porco and Jenkins to cut the Hounds lead to 3-2 at 2:09 of the second period, however, the Greyhounds would answer with a goal from Joe Carroll, taking a 4-2 lead at 5:23 of the second period.
Saginaw took over throughout the second half of the middle frame, getting 3-unanswered goals from Bode Wilde (7:57 of the second), Brady Gilmour (8:17 of the second), and Soo native Camaryn Baber (9:44 of the second) to take a 5-4 lead, before the Soo tied the game when Carroll responded with his second of the night to knot the game at 5-goals apiece at 10:47 of the second period.
Spirit rookie Cole Perfetti (3) would break a 5-5 tie later in the final frame, scoring a power play goal (the eventual game-winner) with assists coming from Owen Tippett and Damien Giroux to give Saginaw a 6-5 lead at 13:54 of the third period, while Tippett (9) followed with an empty net goal at 18:13 of the third period to seal the 7-5 victory.
Soo goal tender Matthew Villalta stopped 19 of the 25 shots he saw in net for the Greyhounds, while Spirit goal tender Ivan Prosvetov continues to shine, turning away 34 of the 39 shots he faced in between the pipes for Saginaw tonight.
The Spirit, who have now won 7-straight playoff games this post-season, can clinch the series and advance to the western conference finals with a game-4 victory when the puck is dropped at 7:07 pm back here at GFL Memorial Gardens on Thursday night.