Saginaw clinches playoffs with 7-3 win over Frontenacs

The Saginaw Spirit (32-24-2-2) scored seven unanswered goals in a 7-3 over the Kingston...
The Saginaw Spirit (32-24-2-2) scored seven unanswered goals in a 7-3 over the Kingston Frontenacs (24-32-1-2) Sunday, March 5, at Leon’s Centre.(Saginaw Spirit)
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 7:16 AM EST
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KINGSTON, Ont. (WNEM) - The Saginaw Spirit (32-24-2-2) scored seven unanswered goals in a 7-3 over the Kingston Frontenacs (24-32-1-2) Sunday, March 5, at Leon’s Centre.

Saginaw’s Matyas Sapovaliv scored two goals while Hunter Haight netted two goals and an assist. Andrew Oke started for the Spirit, stopping 25 of 28 shots faced. Kingston’s Owen Outwater, Gabriel Frasca, and Maddox Callens each potted a goal. Ivan Zhigalov played the first 40 minutes, letting in five goals on 26 shots. Mason Vaccari relieved him in the third period, stopping six of eight shots faced.

The game began with Kingston scoring at 13:23. Alec Belanger sent a one-timer pass to Maddox Callens at the left wing. The forward potted the puck behind Oke for his 13th of the season.

The Frontenacs added to their lead at 15:58 in the first frame. Linus Hemstrom sent a pass out front to Gabriel Frasca. The center rifled a quick shot over Oke’s glove to make it 2-0.

At the end of the first period, Kingston led 2-0 with a 12-11 shot advantage.

The second period started with Saginaw getting on the board at 1:21. Joey Willis skated around the back of the net and passed out front to Hunter Haight. The Minnesota Wild pick accepted the pass and netted the puck to make it 2-1.

The Spirit tied it up just 41 seconds later. Hunter Haight received a pass from Calem Mangone. Joey Willis got it next and sent the puck over Zhigalov’s pad for his 13th of the season.

Saginaw took the lead at 4:29 in the second frame. Theo Hill gave Dean Loukus the puck and he took a shot at Zhigalov. The goaltender turned the shot aside but found himself too far out of the net. Matyas Sapovaliv took advantage and scored his 23rd of the season.

Kingston was caught with too many men at 9:01 in the middle period, giving Saginaw their first powerplay. The Frontenacs successfully killed off the penalty.

Just before the penalty ended, Calem Mangone was called for high sticking at 10:37 in the middle frame which gave Kingston a man-advantage. Kingston could not score on the chance.

Saginaw went down a skater after Nic Sima went to the box for high sticking at 13:42 in the second period. The Frontenacs were unable to convert on the chance.

The Spirit added to their lead at 16:50 in the second frame. James Guo passed to PJ Forgione and he sent a slapshot past Zhigalov. The goal is his fifth of the season.

Just 40 seconds later, Saginaw made it 5-2. Sebastien Gervais received a one-timer pass from Luke McNamara, and he put the puck past Zhigalov for his seventh of the season.

At the second period, Saginaw held a 5-2 lead and had a 27-16 shot advantage.

The third period began with Saginaw extending their lead at 7:40. Hunter Haight deflected PJ Forgione’s shot past Vaccari for his 19th of the season. Roberto Mancini earned an assist on the play.

Olivier Savard received a roughing and a misconduct penalty at 13:26 in the third frame, giving the Frontenacs a man-advantage. Saginaw used the chance to score a shorthanded tally at 13:52. Matyas Sapovaliv got on a breakaway and beat Vaccari stick-side for his second goal of the game.

Kingston converted on the Savard penalty at 14:06. Ian Lemieux gave Owen the puck and he dumped it into Saginaw’s zone. The puck took a weird bounce off the boards and banked into the net off Oke’s back for his 13th of the season.

The game ended with Saginaw winning 7-3 and holding a 34-28 shot lead. With the win, Saginaw improves to 32-24-2-2 on the season, and clinches their 14th playoff berth in franchise history.

Saginaw returns home Thursday, March 9, as they host the Erie Otters at the Dow Event Center. 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.