Saginaw Spirit

Parekh Gives Spirit Come-From-Behind OT Win Against Bulldogs

February 24, 2024 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Saginaw Spirit News Release

Saginaw, Mich. - The Saginaw Spirit (41-15-0-1) welcomed the Brantford Bulldogs (32-16-7-2) to a sold-out Dow Event Center on Saturday, February 24th. Rodwin Dionicio scored a pair of goals sending it into overtime where Zayne Parekh netted the game winner. Nolan Lalonde saved 22 of 26 shots on net for Saginaw while Matteo Drobac stopped 53 of 58 for Brantford.

With 12:18 left in the first, Brantford suffered their first penalty of the game with Luca Testa being called for tripping. This gave the Saginaw Spirit their first power play opportunity of the night.

The Bulldogs managed to score a shorthanded goal with 10:45 left in the first. Marek Vanacker stole the puck away in the neutral zone, taking off on a breakaway. Vanacker fired from 15 feet, sending the puck between Lalonde's legs for the 1-0 lead.

Soon after Brantford returned to full strength they'd extended their lead to two. Lucas Moore made a long pass up ice to Zakary Lavoie who went on a 2-on-1 alongside Marek Vanacker. Lavoie passed to Vanacker who sent the puck just out of reach of Lalonde, 2-0.

With 20 seconds left in the first, Lawson Sherk was sent to the penalty box for high sticking. This gave Saginaw a power play opportunity that'd roll into the second period.

The Saginaw Spirit were down 2-0 to the Brantford Bulldogs at the end of the first with Saginaw outshooting Brantford 25-6.

With 8:35 left in the second period, Saginaw scored their first goal of the game. Alex Christopoulos made a drop pass to Ethan Hay who was hauled down on his way to the net. Hay managed to flip the puck through Drobac to get the Spirit on the board.

With 8:20 left in the second, Saginaw suffered their first penalty of the night as Owen Beck would be called for roughing. This gave Brantford their first power play opportunity of the game.

The Bulldogs took advantage of the power play opportunity with Florian Xhekaj tipping the puck in right past Lalondes skates. Both Marek Vanacker and Jake O'Brien received assists on the power play goal.

With 33 seconds left in the second period, Saginaw scored their second goal of the night, cutting their deficit to one. Zayne Parekhattempted a long shot from behind the left faceoff circle but the puck bounced off Owen Beck to Rodwin Dionicio. Shooting from the left circle, Drobac dove for the save but it proved to be just out of reach.

The second period ended with Saginaw down 3-2 to Brantford but continuing to outshoot the Bulldogs, 39-20 (14-14 in the second period).

With 6:26 left in the game, Saginaw received another power play opportunity with Florian Xhekaj being called for stick holding. The Spirit capitalized with Rodwin Dionicio scoring his second goal of the night. With a mess of bodies in front of the goal, Dionicio sent the puck in under a Bulldog defensemen after a scramble. Josh Bloom and Michael Misa were both credited with the assists on this goal.

Soon after, with 4:05 left in the game, the Spirit claimed their first lead on the night. Matyas Sapovaliv wrapped around the net, passing to Sebastien Gervais who slipped the puck in right between Drobac legs. Captain Braden Haché also received an assist.

However, the Bulldogs would not go away as they'd score the game tying goal with 1:40 left. After collecting a pass from Patrick Thomas, Zakary Lavoie attempted a shot from the left inner hash mark but the puck bounced off Lalonde's pads to Marek Vanacker. Vanaker flipped the puck in behind Lalonde to score the hat trick.

With the game tied 4-4, the Saginaw Spirit and The Brantford were sent into overtime. The Spirit outshot the Bulldogs 57-26 (18-6 in the third period).

Only 30 seconds into overtime, Michael Misa passed to Matyas Sapovaliv who then passed to Zayne Parekh. The defenseman cut to the net and flipped a shot off the crossbar to claim the extra point, 5-4.

The Saginaw Spirit will take on the Brantford Bulldogs in a rematch at the Brantford Civic Centre on Friday, March 1st. Puck drop is at 7:00 pm.

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