Spirit Take Bite out of the Hounds in Game One
Saginaw, MI - The Saginaw Spirit drew first blood in the second round with a 4-1 victory over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Friday evening at The Dow.
Saginaw killed all seven Greyhound man-power advantages and remain unblemished shorthanded in the first five Ontario Hockey League (OHL) playoff games.
New York Islanders second rounder Bode Wilde collects the third period game-winning goal on the power play.
Arizona prospect Ivan Prosvetov made 34 saves en route to his fifth straight post-season victory.
Florida Panthers first round pick Owen Tippett extends his post-season goal streak to five games.
Game two at The Dow Event Center is set for Sunday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m.
The Soo Greyhounds opened the game hot and Spirit goaltender Prosvetov was very strong early. The Russian net-minder made seven saves in the first five minutes of play, with two beauty saves on 2018 Arizona Coyotes first round pick Barrett Hayton.
Hayton's breakaway attempt from the right circle was nabbed out of the air by the Spirit goaltender. Minutes later Prosvetov stoned the Soo center's rebound shot with a sliding pad stop.
Jackson, Michigan native Blade Jenkins had a great opportunity to open to scoring for the Spirit in the first period. The New York Islanders prospect skated down on a breakaway against Los Angeles Kings signee Matthew Villalta. Villalta just closed the five-hole in time to keep the game even.
Saginaw's top-ranked post-season penalty kill was tested often in the first period with a five-minute major call, including a five-on-three man-power advantage for the Greyhounds.
Prosvetov along with Detroit Red Wings draft pick Brady Gilmour and Cole Coskey came up big on the penalty kill to keep the game even.
Villalta made a great glove save on the Spirit's first man-power advantage 2018 Florida Panthers 10th overall pick Owen Tippett from the point.
After a first period filled with penalties, both team's goaltenders came up big to keep the game scoreless. The Soo outshot Saginaw, 14-10 in the first period of play.
The game's first goal was scored 1:34 into the second period by Saginaw's leading scorer in the playoffs Tippett. Overage defenseman Reagan O'Grady made a great pinch to keep the puck in the Greyhounds zone and slid a pass into the slot. Tippett sniped a one-timer over Villalta's shoulder top-corner for his sixth goal of the post-season.
With the goal, the Peterborough, Ontario native extended his post-season goal streak to five games. The goal was Tippett's 20th career OHL post-season tally.
Saginaw nearly took a two-goal lead midway through the second period after a shot by Spirit center Gilmour hit the post on a two-on-one rush. The shot was originally called a goal but upon further review was called back.
Sault Ste. Marie tied up the game with just over three minutes remaining in the second frame. Right-winger Jaden Peca tipped in a two-on-one rush set up by Brighton, Michigan native Keeghan Howdeshell.
The Spirit and Greyhounds took a 1-1 score into the second intermission and both teams registered 25 shots through two periods of play.
Saginaw regained the lead just over eight minutes into the final frame with their sixth power play goal of the post-season. Tippett slid a pass cross-ice to New York Islanders second round pick Bode Wilde. Wilde hammered a slapshot from the right circle past the Soo goaltender Villalta for a 2-1 Spirit lead.
Minnesota Wild draft pick Damien Giroux added a second empty net goal to give the Spirit a 4-1 game one victory.
Applebee's Three Stars of the Game:
Ivan Prosvetov (SSM) W, 34 saves
Owen Tippett (SAG) 2G, A
Matthew Villalta (SSM) 29 saves
The Spirit look to hold serve at home in Game Two Sunday, April 7 against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Puck drop from The Dow Event Center is set for 5:30 p.m.
Watch live on OHLLive.com or listen live on the flagship WSGW Newsradio 100.5 FM Talk and Sports and fmtalk1005.com with the voice of the Saginaw Spirit Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers on the call. "Countdown to Faceoff" with host Domenic Papa starts 15 minutes prior to puck drop.
To purchase tickets to any Saginaw Spirit home game call (989) 497-7747, visit saginawspirit.com, or by visiting the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw, MI.
Images from this story
Bode Wilde and the Saginaw Spirit celebrate a goal
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Ontario Hockey League Stories from April 5, 2019
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