Saturday, January 07, 2006

Friday night has Plymouth, Saginaw win

The Plymouth Whalers stayed on top of the OHL's West Division with a 5-1 win in Sudbury last night.

The second-place Saginaw Spirit kept pace with a 6-5 shootout win at home against Sarnia.

Plymouth played the game without James Neal, Derek Merlini and Mike Letizia – suspended for two games because of their participation in fighting in Plymouth’s 5-1 loss Thursday night in Barrie – Vaclav Meidl (in transit from World Junior Championship), Joe Gaynor (shoulder), Justin Garay (ankle), Ryan Stephenson (ankle) and Ondrej Otcenas (in transit from Slovakia).

Five different Whalers scored – Evan Brophey (above left), Jared Boll, Steve Ward, captain John Vigilante and Andrew Fournier. Vigilante added two assists for a three-point night. Plymouth goaltender Justin Peters stopped 20 of 21 Sudbury shots as the game’s first star.

In Saginaw, the Spirit held leads of 3-0 and 5-3 before the Sting battled back and forced overtime and then the shootout.

"Our lack of experience in these situations lead to the OT," said Spirit coach-GM Bob Mancini. "We're still a youthful team and need to learn how to protect or pad a lead. We haven't developed that killer instinct yet."

Jesse Gimblett won the game in the shootout for Saginaw after Chris Chappell, with two, captain Patrick McNeill, Ryan McDonough and Tyson Gimblett scored in regulation. McNeill added two assists and Michal Birner recorded three helpers.

Ryan Daniels made 39 saves for the win.

Saginaw is in Owen Sound Saturday night while the Whalers are in Sault Ste. Marie.

Brophey photo by Walt Dmoch/Plymouth Whalers.

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