Saginaw, MI – On Monday night, the Saginaw Spirit faced off against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the third game of their OHL first round series. The Spirit were looking to get on the board with a win after coming up empty in Northern Ontario over the weekend. After playing even with the Hounds for most of the game, the Spirit faltered in the third period falling by a score of 7-3.
Max Grondin got the Spirit on the board first for the first time in the series when scored his first goal of the playoffs at the 8:28 mark of the first period. The Hearst, Ontario native collected the puck in front of the net and capitalized on the man advantage. The 2018 NHL Draft eligible center stopped the puck on a dime after Blade Jenkins took a shot from the left circle and slipped it between Matthew Villalta’s legs for the 1-0 lead.
Taylor Raddysh tied the game two minutes later at 10:25 for his third goal of the postseason. The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect deflected the power play score into the net off of a Conor Timmins shot from the point.
Boris Katchouk scored his second goal 9:41 into the second frame to give the Greyhounds a 2-1 lead. The Lightning prospect caught the puck at the blue line and sent a laser past Evan Cormier’s right leg. Jordan Sambrook flipped the assisting pass over the neutral zone for Katchouk to catch just as he was entering the Saginaw zone.
Mason Kohn tied the game with 5:04 remaining in the middle frame. He tallied the goal on a rebound after Reilly Webb took a slap shot that sent the puck flying off of Villalta’s right pad. The overager didn’t hesitate to bury the puck into the net with the goaltender out of position. This goal tied the game at 2-2 heading into the third period.
Katchouk scored his second goal of the at the 6:29 mark of the third period. He found himself open in front of the net after Raddysh forced a turnover behind the Saginaw net. The puck moved so quickly that Cormier was out of position when the shot occurred.
Just 13 seconds later, Hayden Verbeek added to the Soo’s cushion when he flipped the puck over Cormier’s glove at 6:42. The overager took the centering pass from Keeghan Howdeshell from the left circle.
Rasmus Sandin produced his first goal of the playoffs with a slap shot from the left point. After a little pass back and forth with Mac Hollowell, the defenseman let off a shot that sailed into Cormier’s padding, but it trickled into the net for the 5-2 lead.
Nearly two minutes later at the 15:01 mark, Jack Kopacka increased the lead to four after skating behind the defense after a cross-ice pass from Ryan Roth. The shot zipped past Cormier before he could make a play on it.
Nicholas Porco lit the lamp for the Spirit with 2:56 remaining in regulation to bring the score to 6-3. The left winger scored after receiving a centering pass from Kyle Bollers near the left circle. After taking a quick shot, Porco collected his own rebound and sent a backhanded shot into the net.
A second goal from Raddysh put an exclamation point on the game as he scored from in front of the net. A perfectly placed pass from Morgan Frost allowed Raddysh to work the puck past Cormier for the 7-3 final score. With the victory, the Hounds take a three games to zero lead in the series.
The Hounds finished 3-for-5 on the powerplay putting them at 8-for-17 with the man advantage in the Series.
The Spirit and Greyhounds continue their best-of-seven series on Wednesday night. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. For tickets and more information, log on to www.saginawspirit.com or call (989) 497-7747.
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