Saturday, March 18, 2006

Whalers and Spirit both win Friday night

Tonight's showdown in Plymouth for first place

James Neal and Andrew Fournier scored goals six seconds apart in the third period to snap a 2-2 tie and the Plymouth Whalers went on to defeat the Sarnia Sting, 4-2, Friday night in Sarnia.

Plymouth’s victory – coupled with Saginaw’s 4-3 victory Friday night in Sault Ste. Marie – sets up a winner-take-all, one-game showdown for first place in the OHL’s West Division tonight when Plymouth (34-28-1-4, 73 points) hosts Saginaw (36-30-1-0, also with 73 points).

Saturday night’s game is the last game of the OHL’s regular season for Plymouth and Saginaw and the winner of the game wins the OHL West Division and will finish second in the OHL Western Conference playoff seedings. The loser of Saturday’s game will finish second in the OHL West Division and either fifth or sixth in the Western Conference playoff seedings.

Neal scored his first-ever hat trick to lead the Plymouth attack and has 21 goals on the season, while Fournier scored the other Whalers' goal and now has 22. Richard Clune and Brandon Mashinter scored first-period goals for Sarnia, who led, 2-1, after one period of play.

Justin Peters made just 14 saves for the win in net.

Up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ryan McDonough scored a pair and Jack Combs and Tom Pyatt, with the game-winner at 15:23 of the third period, added goals as the Spirit took a 4-3 win. Spirit netminder Francois Thuot stopped 36 shots in the victory.

Tonight's showdown in Plymouth starts at 7:30 p.m.

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