By Matthew Wesolowski
Saginaw, Mich. – The Saginaw Spirit (24-18-2-0) fell 4-1 to the Barrie Colts (25-13-4-2) Sunday, January 29, at the Dow Event Center.
Olivier Savard scored the lone goal for the Spirit, and Andrew Oke made 21 saves on 23 shots. Barrie’s Brandt Clark added an assist to his hat trick for a four-point performance. Anson Thornton made 33 saves on 34 shots en-route to his 17th win of the season.
After even chances to open the game, Saginaw finally struck first with a goal at 17:05 in the first period. Joey Willis started the play by skating into the zone and passing to Dean Loukus. From there, the Michigan native gave Olivier Savard the puck at the top of the circles. The defenseman ripped a shot that flew over Thornton’s glove for his third of the season.
At the end of the first period, the Spirit led 1-0 and held a 12-8 lead on the shot board.
The second period started with PJ Forgione and Tyler Savard being called for roughing at 1:41. Neither team scored at four-on-four.
After another pair of roughing penalties, both teams went down a skater at 10:17 in the second frame. Much like the first pair of roughing penalties, neither team could find the back of the net.
Dean Loukus took a tripping penalty at 12:33 in the middle period, giving Barrie a powerplay. This was negated after Connor Punnett committed a cross checking penalty at 12:57. Saginaw and Barrie could not add a tally on the chances.
Saginaw went on the man-advantage after Brandt Clarke was called for roughing at 14:49 in the second period.
Barrie gained a powerplay chance after Ian Phillips took a slashing penalty at 18:21 in the middle period.
At the end of the second period, Saginaw still held a 1-0 lead along with a 28-14 shot advantage.
The third period opened with the Spirit down two skaters after several penalties were assessed from the previous period. Saginaw successfully killed off both penalties.
Barrie tied it up with a goal at 10:44 in the third frame. Jacob Frasca won the faceoff and got the puck to Brandt Clarke. The L.A. Kings prospect fired a wrist shot from the right circle under Oke’s glove to tie the game at one apiece.
The Colts took the lead at 17:03 in the final period. Brandt Clarke started the play by passing to Connor Punnett. The defensemen fired a shot from the right side of the zone at the front of the net. Jacob Frasca netted his 19th goal of the season after he deflected the puck past Oke to make it 2-1.
Saginaw called Oke to the bench with two minutes left in regulation. The Colts scored a pair of empty-net goals courtesy of Brandt Clarke, giving him a hat-trick. Jacob Frasca earned an assist on the second empty netter.
The game ended with Barrie victorious over Saginaw 4-1 despite the Spirit holding a 34-25 shot advantage. With their eighth straight loss, Saginaw falls to 24-18-2-0 on the season.
Saginaw concludes their home stand on Wednesday, February 1, as they host the Flint Firebirds at the Dow Event Center. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. and tickets are available at Ticketmaster, the Saginaw Spirit Store (6321 State Street), Dow Event Center Box Office, and by phone at (989) 497-7747.