By Matthew Wesolowski
Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – The Saginaw Spirit (24-15-2-0) lost 6-3 to the Soo Greyhounds (14-16-7-4) Wednesday, January 18, at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
Dean Loukus scored a goal and an assist to continue his point streak to four games, and Zayne Parekh scored his 14th goal of the season. Three skaters from the Soo had three points, including Brendan Sirizzotti, who had the game winning goal. Samuel Ivanov earned a win for the Hounds after he stopped 13 saves on 16 shots.
The game started with the Spirit killing off a PJ Forgione hooking penalty less than two minutes into play. Julian Fantino was called for interfere at 3:28 in the first frame, which gave Saginaw their first man-advantage. The chance was cut short after the Spirit were called for too many men at 4:48.
After Fantino’s penalty expired, the Greyhounds gained momentum and grabbed their first goal of the game on the powerplay at 6:28. Kalvyn Watson passed to Brenden Sirizzotti who was on Lennox’s right side. The forward sent a pass into the slot where Bryce McConnell-Barker scored his 22nd goal of the season.
Saginaw tied the game with an unassisted goal from Hunter Haight at 11:51 in the opening period. The Minnesota Wild prospect stole the puck behind the Greyhound net and jammed a backhanded shot behind Ivanov to make it 1-1.
At the end of the first period, both teams were tied at one apiece despite the Hounds’ 10-6 shot advantage.
The second period opened with a goal for the Soo just 96 seconds in. Kalvyn Watson got into a board battle on the left side of the zone. Bryce McConnell-Barker recovered the puck and passed to Julian Fantino. The forward shot at Lennox and the puck trickled past him to regain the lead for the Hounds.
Roberto Mancini was called for slashing at 7:32 in the second frame, giving the Greyhounds another powerplay. The Spirit were able to kill off the penalty despite several shots.
The Greyhounds added to their lead at 9:49 in the middle period. Christopher Brown started the play by giving Marco Mignosa the puck. Julian Fantino accepted a pass from Mignosa and fired a shot over Lennox’s glove for his second of the game.
The Spirit went on the powerplay after Connor Clattenburg committed a cross check at 11:22 in the second period. The Greyhounds held Saginaw scoreless on the chance.
Brenden Sirizzotti got his second point in the game for the Soo after he scored a goal at 13:48 in the middle period. He received a pass from Christopher Brown on his left and sent the puck past Lennox’s glove to make it 4-1. Ryan Thompson earned an assist on the play.
With six seconds remaining in the period, the Spirit cut the lead to two. James Guo earned his first point with the Spirit by passing to Michael Misa. The 15-year-old skated into the zone and fired a pass that deflected off Dean Loukus’ skates to close out the period.
At the end of the second, the Soo held a 21-10 shot advantage and led the game 4-2.
The third period started with Saginaw finding the net 58 seconds in. Dean Loukus passed to Zayne Parekh on his right and he rifled a shot past Ivanov for his 14th goal of the season.
The Soo got a powerplay chance after PJ Forgione took a hooking penalty at 8:10 in the final period. The Hounds were able to convert the chance into a goal at 9:07. Jordan D’intino gave Kirill Kudryavtsev the puck. The Vancouver Canucks prospect passed to Bryce McConnell-Barker, and he ripped a shot past Lennox for his second goal of the game.
PJ Forgione was called for a check from behind, giving the Greyhounds a man-advantage. Just seven seconds into the chance, the Soo found the back of the net. After the faceoff, Kirill Kudryavtsev passed to Brenden Sirizzotti to his right. The forward got a pass to Kalvyn Watson for his third point of the game and made it 6-3 Soo.
With that score, the Greyhounds even up the season series at two games apiece. This was the first game this season that was decided in regular time, and both teams have won two games against each other. Saginaw falls to 24-15-2-0 on the season after tonight’s loss. This is the first time this year that the Spirit have lost five games in a row.
Saginaw’s next game is against the Flint Firebirds Saturday, January 21, at the Dort Financial Center. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.