Spirit fall to Sting, 5-3 in Game 3

The Saginaw Spirit (4-6) lost 5-3 to the Sarnia Sting (7-2) Tuesday, April 18, at the Dow Event...
The Saginaw Spirit (4-6) lost 5-3 to the Sarnia Sting (7-2) Tuesday, April 18, at the Dow Event Center. They trail 3-0 in their second round series against the Sting.(Eric Young)
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 10:47 PM EDT
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Saginaw, Mich. – The Saginaw Spirit (4-6) lost 5-3 to the Sarnia Sting (7-2) Tuesday, April 18, at the Dow Event Center. They trail 3-0 in their second-round series against the Sting.

Zayne Parekh scored two goals for the Spirit while Tristan Lennox stopped 19 of 22 shots faced. Benjamin Gaudreau went 30 for 33 for the visiting Sting. Five Sarnia skaters earned a tally, including Ethan Ritchie who netted the game-winner.

The game began with Sarnia scoring first at 4:20. Nolan Burke stole the puck in front of Lennox and sent a shot over his blocker for his fifth of the postseason.

Saginaw answered back at 9:23 in the first period. Nic Sima gave Theo Hill the puck in the Sting’s zone. Sebastien Gervais received it and rifled a shot past Gaudreau from the right faceoff dot for his first OHL playoff goal.

The Spirit got a powerplay after Ethan Del Mastro went to the box for tripping at 15:26 in the first frame. The chance was cut short after Calem Mangone was called for cross checking at 17:20. Neither team scored on the chance.

At the end of the first period, both teams had one goal apiece despite a 12-5 Saginaw shot lead.

A Lukas Fischer holding penalty and Nolan Burke boarding call were the only entries to the score sheet in the second period. Saginaw outshot the visitors 8-7 in the period for a 20-12 game lead. The score remained 1-1 after 40 minutes.

The third period opened with Sarnia up a skater after Hunter Haight took a holding call at 4:25. While they could not score on the powerplay, the Sting took the lead at 7:11. Ethan Del Mastro sent a pass up to Sasha Pastujov in the neutral zone. The winger darted through the Spirit defense and fed Luca Del Bel Belluz on the back door for his fifth goal of the postseason and the 2-1 lead.

After several penalties, Saginaw found themselves on a four-on-three powerplay. The Spirit tied the game at 2-2 at 11:08 in the third frame. Matyas Sapovaliv won the faceoff and passed back to Zayne Parekh. The defenseman skated around the zone and ripped a shot inside the goalpost on Gaudreau for his fifth of the postseason.

Sarnia wasted no time and regained the lead at 13:09 in the final period. Marcus Limpar-Lantz threw a pass to Sandis Vilmanis at Lennox’s doorstep. The Florida Panthers pick wristed the puck over the goaltender’s glove to make it 3-2.

With time running out, Saginaw called Lennox to the bench for an extra attacker.

The Sting used the chance to extend their lead courtesy of Ethan Ritchie at 17:00 in the final frame, 4-2.

The Sprit pulled Lennox a second time shortly after and brought the game within one at 18:10 in the third period. Calem Mangone passed to Zayne Parekh on the right wing. The defenseman shot the puck past Gaudreau for his second of the game, once again forcing a one-goal game.

After a third attempt at pulling the Spirit goaltender, Sarnia widened the lead to 5-3 after Nolan Dillingham shot the puck from between his own faceoff circles and into the vacant cage.

Sarnia took the 5-3 win in Game 3 despite a 33-24 Saginaw shot lead. With the win, Sarnia leads the series, 3-0. Saginaw faces playoff elimination as they host the Sting Thursday, April 20, at the Dow Event Center. Puck drop is at 7:05pm. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster, the Saginaw Spirit Store (6321 State Street), Dow Event Center Box Office, and by phone at (989) 497-7747.