BONELLO STELLAR IN NET; SPIRIT FALL 3-1 TO HOUNDS
34 saves earns Brendan Bonello 1st star honors; Brady Gilmour scores 26th
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – On Friday night, the Saginaw Spirit visited the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario for the fourth and final time this season. After two scoreless periods, the teams exploded for four goals in the final frame. However, three of those goals went in the Greyhounds’ favor as the Spirit fell, 3-1.
In the opening frame, Brendan Bonello and Matthew Villalta kept their respective nets empty. Although the Spirit committed three penalties, their stellar defense kept the Greyhounds at bay and no goals were allowed. Sault Ste. Marie led Saginaw in shots on goal, 14-5.
It was more of the same in the second period as no goals were scored by either team. However, each team committed two penalties which resulted in four fruitless power plays. Sault Ste. Marie led Saginaw in shots on goal, 13-11.
The Spirit got the scoring started just six seconds into the third period. Brady Gilmour won the opening faceoff and slid the puck behind him to Markus Niemelainen. Niemelainen made a cross-ice pass to Marcus Crawford as a defender approached. Crawford made a crisp pass to Gilmour, who skated up the slot untouched. Gilmour scored his 26th goal of the year as he shot a laser past Matthew Villalta’s blocker side.
Bobby MacIntyre tied the game up, 1-1, at 15:32 of the period. Morgan Frost gained control of the puck near the left board. He quickly made a pass to Barrett Hayton at the left circle. Hayton made a slick pass to MacIntyre for the one-time shot from the right circle. The goal was the overager’s 28th goal of the season.
Three minutes later the Greyhounds took the lead when Jack Kopacka tallied his 30th goal. Conor Timmins took a shot near the left board, but it missed the net and landed behind the net. Blake Speers gained control of it while being surrounded by Spirit defenders. He somehow managed to make a pass to Kopacka who hovered in front of the net. The Anaheim Ducks prospect slammed it home before Bonello even realized where the puck was for the 2-1 lead.
Tim Gettinger added an empty net goal with 35 seconds left to make the final score, 3-1.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
- Brendan Bonello (SAG) – 34 saves
- Matthew Villalta (SSM) – W, 27 saves
- Jack Kopacka (SSM) – GWG
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