Saginaw wins 4-1 over visiting Otters

The Saginaw Spirit (33-24-2-2) won 4-1 over the Erie Otters (20-34-1-5) Thursday, March 9, at...
The Saginaw Spirit (33-24-2-2) won 4-1 over the Erie Otters (20-34-1-5) Thursday, March 9, at the Dow Event Center.(Eric Young)
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 10:53 PM EST
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Saginaw, Mich. – The Saginaw Spirit (33-24-2-2) won 4-1 over the Erie Otters (20-34-1-5) Thursday, March 9, at the Dow Event Center.

Dean Loukus and Matyas Sapovaliv each scored a goal and an assist for Saginaw. Tristan Lennox got the nod for the Spirit, stopping 24 of 25 shots faced. Sam Alfano netted the lone Otter goal while Kyle Downey stopped 26 of 30 shots.

The game began with Saginaw getting on the score sheet first at 9:46. Dean Loukus gave the puck to Olivier Savard to start the play. Matyas Sapovaliv received the puck next near center ice and skated into Erie’s zone. The Vegas Golden Knights pick then rifled a shot that went past Downey’s stick for his team-leading 25th of the season.

Saginaw went down a skater after Luke McNamara went to the box for hooking at 16:37 in the first period. The Otters tied the game with a goal at 18:18. Owain Johnston received a pass from Spencer Sova and he fired a shot at Lennox. A scrum broke out in front of the net and Sam Alfano potted the puck for his 15th of the season.

At the end of the first period, both teams were tied at once apiece despite Saginaw holding a 11-9 shot advantage.

The second period started with Saginaw and Erie down a skater after Artem Kulakov was called for holding at 3:41 and Hunter Haight took a holding the stick penalty at 3:53. Neither team scored during the four-on-four play.

Mitchell Smith was awarded a penalty shot after he was slashed by Owain Johnston at 4:50 in the second frame. The captain was stopped by Downey after he stuck out his right pad.

The Spirit retook the lead at 6:40 in the middle period courtesy of Sebastien Gervais. The winger scored an unassisted goal after he wristed a shot over Downey’s blocker to make it 2-1.

Ondrej Molnar committed a hooking penalty at 9:51 in the middle frame, sending Saginaw to a man-advantage. The Spirit converted on the chance with a tally just six seconds later. Matyas Sapovaliv won the faceoff and passed back to Mitchell Smith. Dean Loukus received it next and he sailed a shot from the right faceoff dot for his 16th of the season.

The second period ended with Saginaw leading shots 22-16 and the game, 3-1.

The third period opened with the Spirit down a skater after Bode Stewart went to the box for holding at 8:58. Erie was unable to score on the chance.

Saginaw was caught with too many men on the ice at 12:42 in the third frame. Like the earlier penalty, the Spirit held off the Otters’ attacks.

Erie went on the man-advantage after Dean Loukus took a check from behind call at 16:30 in the third period. The Spirit scored a shorthanded goal at 18:01 courtesy of Theo Hill. The overager sent a clearing attempt at Downey and the goaltender attempted a pass. The puck bounced off his own skater and into the Otter net him to make it 4-1.

At the end of the game, Saginaw won 4-1 while holding a 30-25 shot lead. With the victory, Saginaw improves to 33-24-2-2 on the season.

Saginaw continues their home stand by hosting the Soo Greyhounds Saturday, March 11, 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.