Spirited third gets the win
SAGINAW, Mich. — The Saginaw Spirit erupted for three goals in a span of 1:22 midway in the third period in defeating the North Bay Battalion 6-2 in an Ontario Hockey League game Saturday night.
Damien Giroux scored three goals, including the winner, and added two assists for Saginaw, which got one goal and two assists from Albert Michnac. Bode Wilde had one goal and one assist and Blade Jenkins the other goal, while goaltender Ivan Prosvetov faced 20 shots as the Spirit overcame a 2-0 first-period deficit.
Saginaw, which has won its last four games since a 6-5 overtime loss Sept. 29 to the visiting Guelph Storm, has a won-lost-extended record of 5-2-1 for 11 points, tied with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds atop the West Division with a game in hand.
Rhys Forhan and Nick King scored for North Bay before a crowd of 2,239, while goaltender Christian Propp made 28 saves.
The Battalion, 3-6-0 for six points and fifth place in the Central Division, opened a three-game weekend road trip with a 5-3 verdict Friday night over the Flint Firebirds.
Giroux struck for the winner at 5:39 of the final period, putting a spinning backhander into the top corner from the lip of the crease.
Giroux then sparked the outburst at 10:14, slipping the puck under Propp from a rebound off the end boards. Michnac scored from high in the right-wing circle at 11:24, and Giroux collected his fifth goal of the season 12 seconds later from the inner edge of the same circle.
Forhan opened the scoring with his season’s first goal at 5:31 of the first period as he beat Prosvetov high to the glove side immediately off a faceoff to the goaltender’s right.
King connected on the power play at 12:49 as he took a pass from Payton Vescio, moved to the top of the left circle and put a low wrister past the screened Prosvetov. The goal was defenceman King’s second.
Defenceman Wilde answered at 17:17, hammering a left-point drive that eluded Propp to the stick side.
Cole Cameron was set up alone in the mid slot, but Prosvetov went to his knees to make the save at 7:51.
Propp produced two big saves against Cole Perfetti in the ninth minute after the puck trickled to the left post. Propp sprawled to get a piece of the attempted conversion and, seconds later, foiled Perfetti on a wraparound attempt at the other side, with the rookie firing the subsequent rebound off the post.
Jenkins tied it 2-2 at 10:39 of the second period, converting the rebound of a shot from the left wing that bounced into the slot and left Propp helpless.
The goaltender denied D.J. Busdeker on a sweep across the goalmouth in the fourth minute and a Spirit attempt at a followup at 3:47. Propp, who knocked down a labeled Ryan Stepien drive with the glove in the ninth minute, smothered the puck with Brady Gilmour loose at the crease at 16:59. Saginaw’s Nicholas Porco hit the crossbar on a breakaway in the 16th minute.
The Battalion completes the road trip at Sault Ste. Marie at 2:07 p.m. Sunday. The game can be seen live in North Bay on YourTV Channels 12 and 700 and heard on Country 600 CKAT.
BATTALION BULLETS: It was Star Wars Night at The Dow Event Center, with fans encouraged to wear Star Wars apparel, but it appeared that precious few did … Forhan’s goal was his first since last Oct. 22, in an 8-2 victory over the visiting Kingston Frontenacs … In 209 games, Justin Brazeau, who didn’t get a point against Saginaw, has 74 goals and 66 assists for 140 points, tied with Nick Paul for 19th place in Battalion history. Brazeau, who scored two goals at Flint, was credited with two assists but had three, with one wrongly attributed to David Maier … Opening lines had Adam McMaster centring left winger Egor Postnov and right winger Brazeau, Kyle Jackson centring left winger Brad Chenier and right winger Brandon Coe and Luke Moncada pivoting left winger Harrison Caines and Forhan on right wing. Centre Patrick Brown and Maier, usually a defenceman, at right wing had various linemates … North Bay, which dressed 11 at forward and seven defencemen, was without Travis Mailhot, Daniel Walker, Kurtis Evans, Matthew Struthers and Cameron Peters … The Battalion went 1-for-2 on the power play. Saginaw was 0-for-3 … Assistants Scott Wray and Adam Dennis again ran the bench, with Battalion coach Stan Butler on medical leave … There was a brief delay at 9:42 of the second period when a door at the Spirit bench came unhinged. Officials moved up the promotional timeout to minimize the impact.