Spirit take first-ever Game 7 win, 6-3 over Flint

The Saginaw Spirit (4-3) won Game 7, 6-3 over the Flint Firebirds (3-4) Monday, April 10, at...
The Saginaw Spirit (4-3) won Game 7, 6-3 over the Flint Firebirds (3-4) Monday, April 10, at the Dow Event Center.(Eric Young)
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 10:40 PM EDT
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Saginaw, Mich. – The Saginaw Spirit (4-3) won Game 7, 6-3 over the Flint Firebirds (3-4) Monday, April 10, at the Dow Event Center.

With 20 saves on 23 shots, Tristan Lennox earned his sixth playoff win for the Spirit. Four separate Saginaw skaters had multiple points, with Matyas Sapovaliv scoring two goals and two assists, including the game-winner. Amadeus Lombardi netted two goals for Flint and Dmitry Kuzmin earned two helpers. Nathan Day started the game for Flint, sopping 24 of 28.

The game began with Flint scoring first at 3:17. Tristan Bertucci passed to Amadeus Lombardi in Saginaw’s zone. The Detroit Red Wings pick sent a shot past Lennox for his fourth of the postseason.

The Spirit answered back with a tally of their own at 10:51 in the first period. Hunter Haight got the puck from Calem Mangone in the neutral zone. Joey Willis received a pass next and was off to the races. The center beat two Flint skaters and put the puck under Day’s glove to tie it at one apiece.

Saginaw took their first lead of the game at 12:23 in the first frame. Dean Loukus sent a pass to Zayne Parekh at the top of Flint’s zone. The defenseman rifled a shot at Day, but Michael Misa deflected it past the goaltender for his third of the playoffs.

Roberto Mancini went to the box for high sticking at 12:55 in the opening period, giving Flint their first powerplay. The Spirit kept them off the board during the chance.

At the end of the first period, Saginaw held a 13-9 shot advantage along with a 2-1 lead of the game.

The second period started with the Spirit extending their lead at 11:25. Tristan Bertucci attempted to gain possession of the puck on Day’s glove side but ultimately gave it away. Matyas Sapovaliv collected the loose puck for an easy tap-in and his sixth of the postseason.

The rest of the second period saw both goaltenders find their form and stop any further goals. After 40 minutes, Saginaw led 3-1 with a 20-17 shot advantage.

The third period opened with the Spirit down a skater after Roberto Mancini was called for tripping at 2:42. While not being able to score on the powerplay, Flint did score shortly after it expired at 4:45. Owen Pitters got the puck from Dmitry Kuzmin in Saginaw’s zone. The center sent a shot at Lennox, and he turned it aside. Coulson Pitre found the puck and scored his second goal in as many games to draw the score to 3-2.

Flint tied the game with a tally at 6:43 in the third frame. Dmitry Kuzmin passed to Coulson Pitre in the Spirit’s zone. Amadeus Lombardi received it next and sent a backhanded shot top shelf over Lennox’s glove to make it 3-3.

Late in the third period, Saginaw retook the lead at 16:12 in the final period. Mitchell Smith got the puck from Dean Loukus and sent a shot towards Day. Before the puck made it to the goaltender, Matyas Sapovaliv redirected it for his second goal of the game.