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Recap: Spirit advance to semifinals of OHL Playoffs

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Sarnia, ON – The Saginaw Spirit are headed to the second round of the Ontario Hockey League Playoffs for the first time since 2012.

In a game where the Spirit trailed by two goals after two periods of play, the historic comeback Thursday at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena ends with Blade Jenkins scoring the game winner in overtime for the quarterfinals sweep, topping the Sarnia Sting 5-4.

It’s the first time Saginaw has eliminated an opponent from the playoffs in four straight games since 2009 and first playoff game decided in overtime since 2014.

Jenkins, the 2018 New York Islanders fifth-round prospect, picked up his second goal of the series at 11:33 with Justin Murray grabbing the assist to advance the Spirit to the semifinals.

Saginaw will wait for the winner of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Owen Sound Attack series to determine who they host next week. Both the London Knights and Guelph Storm have advanced to the second round after sweeping their respective opponents.

2017 Florida Panthers first-round (10th overall) pick Owen Tippett would score the opening goal for the second consecutive game 1:20 into the first period.

Tippett, coming down on the 2-on-1 rush with Ryan McLeod, collected his 18th career OHL playoff goal and fifth this series which leads the team. McLeod, the 2018 Edmonton Oilers second-round (40th overall) selection, has recorded three assists this series.

Credited with the secondary assist was 2017 Detroit Red Wings seventh-round prospect Brady Gilmour. Gilmour is first among Spirit players in that respective category after notching two in both Game One and Game Three.

Franco Sproviero tied the game at 3:01 on Sarnia’s first shot of the period.

Sproviero, whose four total assists are a team-high for the Sting, slid on his knees to score his first goal of the series.

Saginaw went ahead before the first intermission once Damien Giroux earned his fourth goal of the series.

Giroux, the 2018 Minnesota Wild fifth-round pick, got the put back on a rebound from Hayden Davis‘ slap shot with 1:43 remaining.

Davis has registered three assists this series and leads the team with a plus-minus rating of +7.

The Spirit received their second man-up opportunity eight minutes into the second period but allowed a shorthanded goal midway through the power play.

Ryan McGregor scored his first goal of the series as his shot would leak through the padding of 2018 Arizona Coyotes fourth-round (114th overall) pick Ivan Prosvetov at 9:04.

Prosvetov, who made the start in all four games of the series, finished with 28 saves. Former 2016 Spirit draft selection Cameron Lamour stopped 50 shots in his first start this series.

The Sting picked up their first scoring lead of the series since Game One in Saginaw and later seized a two-goal advantage before the second intermission.

McGregor took the pass off the boards for the breakaway goal at 11:13, making it 3-2, with Justin McCombs then capping off the three unanswered goal run with 4:51 remaining.

Saginaw endured 2:15 on the penalty kill heading into the third.

After returning from injury that forced him to miss both Game Two and Game Three, D.J. Busdeker brought the score back to within one, his first goal of the series.

With Sarnia turning the puck over inside the Spirit zone, Busdeker was left alone on the other side, beating out Lamour at 5:20.

Overtime was forced with McLeod’s first goal of the playoffs.

The Mississauga, Ontario, native’s goal was set up by Gilmour quick snapping the pass cross-ice for his sixth total assist this series.

The Spirit’s overtime win was the first on the road since the 2011 Playoffs, when Josh Shalla scored to win Game Two of Round Two in Windsor.

Shots on goal favored the Spirit, 55-33.

Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:

  1. Blade Jenkins (SAG) – GWG
  2. Cameron Lamour (SAR) – 50 SVs
  3. Ryan McGregor (SAR) – 2G

Saginaw will again have home-ice advantage for the second round of the OHL Playoffs at The Dow Event Center.

Dates and times for the semifinals are to be determined once all eight quarterfinals series have concluded.

Listen coverage can be heard on OHLLive.com, the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk & Sports and fmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers. “Countdown to Faceoff” begins 15 minutes prior to puck drop.

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.

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