Smith scores hat trick in 6-5 OT loss to Spits

By Matthew Wesolowski

Windsor, Ont. – The Saginaw Spirit (34-24-3-2) lost 6-5 in overtime to the Windsor Spitfires (41-16-4-2) Wednesday, March 15, at the WFCU Centre.

Spirit Captain Mitchell Smith recorded his first career hat trick while Dean Loukus earned three assists. Tristan Lennox started for the Spirit, stopping 17 of 23 shots faced. Oliver Peer netted two goals for Windsor and Shane Wright earned two helpers. Mathias Onuska manned the crease for the Spits, stopping 21 of 26 shots faced.

The game began with Saginaw down a skater after they were caught with too many men 50 seconds in. Windsor could not score on the chance.

The Spitfires got on the board first at 10:40 in the first period. Shane Wright won the faceoff and got the puck to Alex Christopoulos. Oliver Peer received it next, and skated around the back of the net. The winger ripped a shot past Lennox’s pad for his 21st of the season.

Saginaw evened the game at one apiece with a goal at 14:11 in the first frame. Zayne Parekh sent a shot at Onuska from the left circle. Mitchell Smith deflected the puck past the goaltender’s blocker for his 11th of the season.

Windsor went down a skater after James Jodoin went to the box for tripping at 17:28 in the opening period. The Spitfires killed off the chance with several clearing attempts.

The Spirit went on the penalty kill after Calem Mangone was called for tripping with eight seconds remaining in the first period. The penalty spanned the first and second periods.

At the end of the first period, both teams had one goal apiece despite an eight to six Saginaw shot lead.

The second period started with Saginaw scoring a shorthanded goal 49 seconds in. Mitchell Smith scored the unassisted goal and earned his second of the game to make it 2-1 Saginaw.

Windsor evened up the score 60 seconds later courtesy of Oliver Peer. The winger netted an unassisted tally after he went top shelf on Lennox for his second of the game.

A few minutes later, The Spitfires extended their lead with a goal at 4:07 in the second frame. Aiden Castle received a pass from Anthony Christoforo in Sagianw’s zone. Castle took a shot from the left faceoff dot that beat Lennox glove-side for his 18th of the season.

Noah Morneau was called for holding at 16:49 in the middle frame, giving the Spirit a man-advantage. Saginaw tied the game at three with a tally at 16:58. Dean Loukus passed to Mitchell Smith, and he rifled a shot past Onuska for his third of the game and his first career hat trick.

Just before the period ended, Windsor netted a goal with 47 seconds left. Matthew Maggio scored a breakaway goal for his 50th of the season. Jacob Maillet and Brett Harrison each earned helpers on the tally.

At the end of the second period, Windsor led 4-3 despite being outshot, 20-15.

The third period opened with Saginaw wasting no time to tie the game at four apiece at 2:14. Lincoln Moore fed Sebastien Gervais for a backdoor tap in after picking up a puck from Michael Misa. Gervais’ tying goal was his ninth of the season.

Windsor made it 5-4 with a goal at 3:03 in the third frame. Alex Christopoulos redirected a shot from Aiden Castle past Lennox for his 45th of the season. Shane Wright earned an assist on the goal.

Saginaw went on the man-advantage after Anthony Christoforo committed a cross-checking penalty at 16:12 in the final period. The Spirit capitalized on the chance with a powerplay tally at 17:03. Joey Willis received the puck from Hunter Haight and he wristed a shot over Onuska’s glove to tie the game at five apiece. Dean Loukus earned a helper on the goal.

Neither team was able to break the tie before the period ended, and the game went to overtime. At the end of regulation, both teams had five goals and Saginaw led shots, 26-22.

In overtime, Windsor won the game after just 52 seconds. Nicholas DeAngelis passed to Jacob Maillet as he fired the only shot in overtime for his 23rd goal of the season and the game winner.

With the OT goal, Windsor claimed a 6-5 victory over Saginaw. The Spirit fall to 34-24-3-2 on the season.

Saginaw stays on the road by visiting the Kitchener Rangers Friday, March 17, at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.

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