Monday, March 21, 2005

Saginaw finishes season on high note

The Saginaw Spirit downed the Erie Otters, 5-1, in Erie Saturday night. The Spirit victory locked the team in 17th place in the OHL, the highest place the Spirit have finished in team history.

Saginaw opened scoring in the first period when forward Tommy Mannino connected with linemate Joe McCann. Matt Corrente also assisted on the goal. The Otters equalized at the thirteen-minute mark, when forward Andrew Shennan scored on the power play. The Otters outshot Saginaw 22-5 in the period.

Saginaw took the lead at the five minute mark of the second period, when hustle from forward Chris Ferguson created a scoring opportunity. Ferguson took the puck deep into Erie's zone, then flipped the puck in front of the net where Corrente put the puck in on the backhand. The Spirit opened the lead to 3-1 twelve minutes later when forward Michal Birner hit Mannino in stride on a breakaway.

The score remained 3-1 into the third period, when Birner set up another scoring opportunity. Birner fired the puck into Erie's zone, where Marek Kvapil put the puck on net. Linemate Tom Pyatt crashed the net and put in Kvapil's rebound for the Spirit's fourth goal. The Spirit opened the lead to 5-1 three minutes later on the power play, when Mannino tipped in a Birner shot. Pyatt also assisted.

Mannino's three point night helped him break the 50-point mark for the season. Birner's three assists pushed him over the 40-point mark in his first OHL season. Pyatt and Corrente had two-point nights. Spirit goalie Jeff Weber turned back 49 shots in the effort.

The Spirit finish the season 18-42-4-4 on the season, fourth in the OHL West Division and ninth in the Western Conference.

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