Monday, January 16, 2006

Saginaw needs OT to beat 'Hounds

The Saginaw Spirit overcame a hard-charging Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds team to take a 5-4 win in overtime Sunday.

Spirit forward Jesse Gimblett (left) got the game-winning goal in OT, completing a four-point day in his 300th OHL game. The win gives the Spirit 46 points, the most in team history, and puts the Spirit in second place in the OHL West, four points behind the Plymouth Whalers. The Spirit are in sixth place in the OHL Western Conference, one point behind Guelph.

The Soo scored first at 1:34 of the first, when forward Dustin Jeffery knocked in a rebound. The Spirit tied on the power play, when Gimblett scored on the rebound from Matt Corrente and twin Tyson Gimblett. The Soo re-took the lead 2-1 in the last minute of the period, on a 5-on-3 power play, when defenseman Josh Godfrey found the net.

The Spirit tied the game 2-2 on a 5-on-3 early in the second period, when Michal Birner connected on a one-timer from captain Patrick McNeill and Jesse Gimblett. McNeill sprung forward Zack Torquato on a sixty-foot pass three minutes later and Torquato scored on the breakaway to make it 3-2 Saginaw.

The Hounds weren't done yet, though. Sault Ste. Marie tied the game 3-3 at 7:06 of the second, when forward Tyler Kennedy scored on wrist shot from the blueline. Saginaw responded quickly, at 8:26 when defenseman Scott Fletcher put in a slapshot from the blueline, assisted by Jesse Gimblett and Ryan McDonough to make it 4-3. The goal was Fletcher's first of his OHL career. McDonough's assist gave him 38, breaking the team single-season assist record of 37 set by forward Marek Kvapil in 2004-05.

The Soo tied the game 4-4 at 16:01 of the second, when forward Ryan Kitchen found a loose puck in close and scored.

The Spirit and Soo tightened up their play in the third period and battled to a scoreless-draw. The Soo outshot Saginaw 9-6 in the third. The Greyhounds went on the penalty kill late in the third period, and it carried over into OT.

A delay of game penalty to goalie Kyle Gajewski gave the Spirit a 5-3 advantage. Forward Ryan Berard fired a shot in on net, and Jesse Gimblett found the rebound and scored to cement the Spirit 5-4 win. McNeill also assisted.

Spirit goalie Ryan Daniels had 37 saves in the game.

The win takes Saginaw's record to 23-18-0-0. The Spirit resume action Friday in Erie against the Otters, the first game of a three game road trip. Saginaw returns to the Dow Event Center Thursday, Jan. 26 to face the Whalers.

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