Saturday, October 27, 2018
Saginaw, Michigan – The Saginaw Spirit (7-4-1-1; 16 pts.) battled back from a two-goal deficit to salvage one point in Saturday’s 3-2 shootout setback to the Niagara IceDogs (8-4-2-0; 19 pts.) at The Dow Event Center.
Despite slipping to fifth place in the OHL Western Conference standings in just their second game decided in extra-time this season, the Spirit have gained three points in a seven-day span, who’ll visit the Sarnia Sting tomorrow, Oct. 28, for the second regular-season meeting between the two West Division rivals.
The IceDogs jumped out to the early lead just 2:43 into the opening period, as right-winger Jonah De Simone scored his second goal of the season with defenseman Mason Howard earning the assist.
Saginaw goaltender Ivan Prosvetov had not allowed a goal in eight days before the 1-0 deficit. The Arizona Coyotes prospect pitched the shutout in last Saturday’s 6-0 win against the Flint Firebirds for the first of his OHL career.
Prosvetov, with a goals against average (GAA) of 3.11 and 0.879 save percentage (SAV%) after nine appearances this season, finished the night with 14 saves while Niagara’s Stephen Dhillon made 36 saves.
Los Angeles Kings prospect and team points leader Akil Thomas (21) notched his seventh goal of the year with 13:26 left in the frame. Receiving the pass from 2017 Minnesota Wild draft selection Ivan Lodnia just after crossing the blue-line, Thomas’ wrist shot would find the bottom right corner of the net for the two-goal IceDogs lead.
The Spirit outshot Niagara, 15-13, and went 0-for-2 on the power play in the first 20 minutes of play.
3:15 into the second period saw overage left-winger Albert Michnac extend his points streak to an OHL-leading 13 games, scoring his eighth goal for 21 total points, the latter of which is tied for 10th overall in the league.
Less than a minute before Michnac cut the Spirit deficit to 2-1, Niagara forward Andrew Bruder’s goal was overturned when a Niagara player skated across the blue-line before Bruder, which could have been his first goal of the year.
During the lengthy review, Prosvetov was pulled for third-year veteran Cameron Lamour at 17:44. Lamour’s last appearance in net came on Oct. 17 in a 6-3 loss on the road to the Soo Greyhounds at GFL Memorial Gardens.
Lamour, the native of Naughton, Ontario, would not allow a goal in his sixth appearance this season.
Alternate captain Brady Gilmour, who nabbed the assist off the Michnac goal, tied the game just 12 seconds remaining on the man-advantage. Knocking in the cross-ice pass from Michnac at 15:57 was Gilmour’s fifth goal this year and fourth in four straight games against the IceDogs.
Michnac, who was acquired via trade in June, now has a team-leading 13 assists and is second with a plus-minus rating of +7.
Capitalizing on a cross-checking penalty on Niagara defenseman and 2017 Boston Bruins draft pick Daniel Bukac, Saginaw has scored 10 times on 49 power play opportunities through 13 games which ranks ninth among all OHL clubs.
The least penalized club in the league and only team to be short-handed 40 times this season, the Spirit escaped back-to-back man-down situations midway through the third period, with their penalty kill success now sitting at 82.5 percent.
The Spirit, who recorded 37 shots before the overtime, nearly pocketed their second short-handed goal and first since Oct. 3 when officials confirmed Dhillon’s save with 9:10 remaining in regulation.
Saginaw later survived the final 1:31 down a player in extra-time after second-year defenseman Mason Millman was called for checking to the head, allowing just one shot to the IceDogs, who have scored 12 power play goals this season for seventh in the league.
Bradey Johnson would score the game-winning goal in the third round for Niagara after both Michnac and 2018 first-round draft pick Cole Perfetti missed the net in Saginaw’s two attempts. Lamour’s lone save came against Edmonton Oilers prospect Kirill Maksimov in the second round.
Applebee’s 3 Stars of the Game:
1. Bradey Johnson (NIAG) – GW Goal
2. Albert Michnac (SAG) – G, A
3. Akil Thomas (NIAG) – G
Puck drop against the Sting is set for 2:05 p.m. from the Progressive Auto Sales Arena. Returning to the Dow for First Responders Night next Saturday, Nov. 3, the Spirit host the Guelph Storm in a rematch from last month’s overtime loss in what will be the start of a four-game home stand.
To purchase your tickets for all Saginaw home games, call (989) 497-7747, visit saginawspirit.com or by visiting the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw, MI.