31 saves from Oke power Spirit to 3-1 win in Mississauga

31 saves from Oke power Spirit to 3-1 win in Mississauga
31 saves from Oke power Spirit to 3-1 win in Mississauga(Charles Warburton)
Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 5:53 PM EST
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Mississauga, Ont. – The Saginaw Spirit (30-21-2-1) wrapped up a four-game road trip with a 3-1 win over the Mississauga Steelheads (27-22-5-0) Monday, February 20, at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre. The win was Saginaw’s fourth straight, and completed a four-game road sweep that included the Soo, Guelph and Owen Sound.

Andrew Oke started for Saginaw, stopping 31 of 32 shots faced. Matyas Sapovaliv potted two goals while Dean Loukus earned two assists for the Spirit. Mississauga’s Ryerson Leenders got the start, giving up two goals on 14 shots. Angus MacDonnell scored the only goal for the Steelheads.

It took a bit over 15 minutes into the first period, but the Spirit struck first at 15:15. Theo Hill received a pass from Dean Loukus to start the play. The overager fed Matyas Sapovaliv the puck in front of Leenders. The Vegas Golden Knights prospect deked the goaltender and put in a backhanded shot for his 20th of the season.

At the end of the first period, Saginaw held a 1-0 lead despite the Steelheads’ 13-6 shot advantage.

The second period started with the Spirit down two skaters after Ian Phillips took a slashing call at 6:11 and PJ Forgione was called for delay of game at 8:08. Saginaw successfully killed off both penalties.

As the second penalty expired, the Steelheads tied the game at 10:12 in the second frame. Kasper Larsen recovered the puck on the right side and sent a pass to Charlie Callaghan at the left wing. Angus MacDonnell received the puck next and fired a shot from the right faceoff dot past Oke’s glove for his 23rd of the season.

Nearing the end of the middle period, Mississauga went back to the powerplay after Dean Loukus committed a hooking penalty at 19:13. The man-advantage spanned both the second and third periods.

At the end of the second period, the game was tied at one apiece despite the Steelheads leading shots, 24-11.

The third period started with Saginaw up a skater after Chas Sharpe was called for holding at 3:11. The Spirit used the chance to regain the lead with a goal at 4:02. Mitchell Smith gave Dean Loukus the puck at the right wing. The Michigan native setup a one-timer opportunity to Hunter Haight and he potted his 16th of the season to make it 2-1.

Olivier Savard tripped up James Hardie at 12:53 in the third frame, giving him a penalty shot. The forward tried to beat Oke glove-side, but the goaltender stopped him.

Mississauga was caught with too many men at 13:46 in the final period which gave Saginaw a man-advantage. The Steelheads killed off the chance.

Leenders was called to the bench with two minutes remaining in the game. The Spirit scored the empty netter courtesy of Matyas Sapovaliv.

The game ended with the Spirit winning 3-1 despite a 33-15 Mississauga shot lead. With the victory, Saginaw improves to 30-21-2-1 on the season and sweep the series with the Steelheads.

Saginaw returns home as they host the North Bay Battalion Friday, February 24, at the Dow Event Center to begin Ice Blast Weekend. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. and tickets are available at Ticketmaster, the Saginaw Spirit Store (6321 State Street), Dow Event Center Box Office, and by phone at (989) 497-7747.