Friday night saw a battle between two teams with two very different stories. The Saginaw Spirit find themselves in a battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, while the Guelph Storm looked to play spoiler at home.
In what quickly became a tough and intense match-up, it would be the Spirit who came out on top, winning 3-2.
Rookie Anthony Popovich got the start for the Storm, while the Spirit called upon veteran goaltender Evan Cormier to man the crease.
The tone was set right from the start as the Western Conference affair featured an intense physical matchup, as both teams looked to take the two points.
The nature of the game led to a special team’s competition throughout the first and it was the Storm who would capitalize first. While on their second power play of the game Isaac Ratcliffe rifled home his 24th of the season on a sharp angle. James McEwan and Nate Schnarr picked up the assists on the goal.
Both teams would continue to trade special team opportunities and chances, but the Storm held on to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Shots after the opening frame were 11-8 in favour of the visitors.
Saginaw wasted no time in the second period, tying the game just three minutes in on a quick snapshot by Kris Bennett for his 25th of the season.
The Storm would retake the lead with just over four minutes left in the period, on Cedric Ralph’s seventh goal of the year, tipping Ryan Merkley’s point shot past Cormier. Albert Michnac was credited with the second assist.
After 40 minutes of play, the Storm led 2-1, with shots tied at 22 each.
Saginaw entered Friday night looking to keep their playoff hopes alive, and in order to do that, they’d need a big third period to complete the comeback.
Haydon Hodgson got the ball rolling burying his 36th goal of the season just five minutes into the period.
The Spirit would then take the lead just three minutes later on a point shot by Filip Hronek.
Guelph would press late but the Spirit would hold to take the 3-2 decision.
Final shots were 29-26 in favour of the Spirit.
With the loss the Storm fall to 20-37-4-2, while the Spirit keep their playoff hopes alive, improving to 26-29-7-2.
- Friday night was the series finale between the two teams.
- Guelph split the season series 2-2.
- The Storm return to action Sunday afternoon for thier final contest against the London Knights. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:00 pm.
Saginaw Spirit 3 at Guelph Storm 2 – Status: Final
Friday, March 10, 2017 – Sleeman Centre
Saginaw 0 1 2 – 3
Guelph 1 1 0 – 2
1st Period-1, Guelph, Ratcliffe 24 (McEwan, Schnarr), 12:46 (PP). Penalties-Davies Sag (tripping), 0:06; Middleton Sag (roughing, cross checking), 3:15; Ratcliffe Gue (roughing), 3:15; Sicoly Gue (holding), 9:36; Grondin Sag (high sticking), 12:12; McEwan Gue (tripping), 15:55; Fuoco Sag (roughing), 19:19; Merkley Gue (roughing), 19:19.
2nd Period-2, Saginaw, Bennett 25 (Davies, Davis), 2:55. 3, Guelph, Ralph 7 (Merkley, Michnac), 15:27. Penalties-Bennett Sag (charging), 3:08; Fuoco Sag (high sticking), 7:43; McEwan Gue (roughing), 11:11; Hodgson Sag (hooking), 16:08.
3rd Period-4, Saginaw, Hodgson 36 (Hronek, Kreis), 5:18 (PP). 5, Saginaw, Hronek 13 8:12. Penalties-Middleton Sag (fighting), 0:22; Rhodes Gue (fighting), 0:22; Ratcliffe Gue (slashing), 4:10; Schnarr Gue (cross checking), 16:51.
Shots on Goal-Saginaw 11-11-7-29. Guelph 8-14-4-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Saginaw 1 / 5; Guelph 1 / 6.
Goalies-Saginaw, Cormier 22-17-5-2 (26 shots-24 saves). Guelph, Popovich 7-16-0-1 (29 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Pat Myers (40), Mike Hamilton (8).
Linesmen-Brady Fagan (70), Dave Pfohl (96).
- SAG Filip Hronek
- GUE Isaac Ratcliffe
- SAG Hayden Hodgson