Sunday, January 29, 2006

Saginaw in first after 5-1 win in Plymouth

Saginaw's Scott Fletcher and Plymouth's Jared Boll tussle

The Saginaw Spirit led from start the finish in scoring three power-play goals and a shorthanded tally in a 5-1 victory over the Plymouth Whalers in front of a sellout crowd of 3,628 Saturday night at the Compuware Sports Arena.

The victory moves Saginaw (26-20-0-0) in sole possession of first place in the OHL’s West Division, two points ahead of Plymouth (23-21-1-3). The Whalers have lost five in a row of seven of their last eight games.

Plymouth has scored just five goals over the five-game losing streak.

"The bounces aren't going our way," Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci said. "Nothing's going our way."

Saginaw goaltender Francois Thuot was the game’s first star for the second straight game against Plymouth in stopping 39 of 40 shots. Thuot pitched a shutout Thursday night in a 3-0 victory over the Whalers in a game played at Dow Event Center in Saginaw.

Ryan McDonough led the Saginaw attack with two power-play goals and now leads the Spirit in scoring with 27 goals and 38 assists for 65 points in 46 games. Tom Pyatt scored a goal and added two assists. Jesse Gimblett added a goal and assist while Garrett Sinfield scored the shorthanded goal for Saginaw.

Gino Pisellini scored the lone Plymouth goal on a power play in the third period.

Special teams were prominent in the game as referee Darcy Burchell sent a constant parade of skaters to the penalty box on both sides. In all, Saginaw went 3-for-13 on the power play, Plymouth 1-for-9.

"This was a big win for us," Saginaw coach-GM Bob Mancini said. "It puts us in first, but it'll be a battle to stay there for sure."

Plymouth starts a three-game road trip in Kingston this Friday. They’ll continue on the road next Saturday night in Belleville and play Super Bowl Sunday in Ottawa.

Saginaw hosts Sault Ste. Marie tomorrow.

Photo by Matt Mackinder

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