The Owen Sound Attack welcomed the Saginaw Spirit to town on Saturday night hoping to snap a seven game losing streak. After losing last night in Kitchener, the Attack were looking to put some goals on the board and make it two consecutive losses for the Spirit. Last Thursday, Owen Sound visited the Dow Center in Saginaw and lost narrowly in a 5-4 defeat. Led by top prospect Cole Perfetti, the Spirit have remained near the top of the Western Conference standings all season long. Mack Guzda received the start for Owen Sound while Marshall Frappier got the nod for Chris Lazary’s team.
Last time these two teams met, Aidan Dudas opened the scoring just twenty seconds in. The captain wouldn’t be in the lineup this evening, missing the game due to an upper body injury. Owen Sound was on the opposite end of the hot start this week, with Saginaw opening the scoring forty seconds in. The Attack wouldn’t be discouraged and just over three minutes into the game, Kaleb Pearson scored on his second big chance of the period to tie the game at 1 apiece with his 7th of the season. A few minutes later while playing on the penalty kill, Pearson continued his strong play in the period and was hauled down on a shorthanded chance to even things up at four on four. Things settled down and Owen Sound battled back into the game, but after an extended shift in the Attack end the Spirit regained the lead with their captain Damien Giroux netting his 16th of the season. Owen Sound continued to look dangerous on the penalty kill in the period and after forcing a turnover Matt Philip found himself in all alone where he deked past Frappier to tie the game up once again at 2. Owen Sound ended the period on the power play and ahead in shots 15-14.
The second period hasn’t been kind to the Owen Sound Attack this season, and through 24 games it has been their weakest in terms of goal differential. But despite the season trend, Owen Sound turned it around tonight. The Attack were buzzing at the Spirit net, getting chance after chance until Adam McMaster redirected a Daylon Groulx shot to give Owen Sound their first lead of the game four and a half minutes into the period. The Attack continued to have their chances, but couldn’t extend the advantage. 14 minutes in, Cole Perfetti thought he scored on a wicked wrister from the slot but it was disallowed due to a delayed slashing call against the road team. Owen Sound couldn’t convert on the man advantage but would head to the locker room up 3-2 after the first forty minutes of play. Shots on goal after two were in Saginaw’s advantage, 25-21.
The Attack started the third period 20 minutes away from ending their losing streak. Up 3-2 on the dangerous Spirit, it wasn’t going to be easy to hang on to the one goal lead. Owen Sound had an abbreviated power play to start the frame, but couldn’t convert. At the two minute mark, Saginaw received their own power play opportunity but the Attack continued their solid special teams play and managed to kill it off. At 8:51, Adam McMaster sprung Barret Kirwin off of a bouncing puck and Kirwin made no mistake on the breakaway, firing a wicked wrist shot past Frappier for the two goal advantage. The Spirit wouldn’t take it lying down and the next few minutes marked constant pressure in the Owen Sound zone. Guzda made multiple miraculous saves including a sprawling stop on a two on one to preserve the lead. Saginaw would finally get one back with 2:45 remaining. The Spirit were on the power play and pulled their goaltender for a 6 on 4 advantage when they beat Guzda with their 34th shot of the game. The Attack still had the one goal advantage but would need to to battle for the remainder of the night. The Spirit once again pulled their netminder looking for the tying goal, and Owen Sound missed an empty net by inches that would have put the game away. Pearson hit the post on an empty net opportunity and Saginaw would make them pay with just seven seconds remaining. They would find the tying goal to make it 4-4 and send the game to overtime. Shots on goal after 60 were 37-28 in favour of the Spirit.
It didn’t take very long in overtime for a winner to be decided. Just 58 seconds into the extra frame, Brady Lyle would find Barret Kirwin in front of the net for his second of the game and the winning tally. A big night for Kirwin included his 50th career OHL goal.
The Hatten Home Building Centre Hardest Working Player was Griffin Wilson. The Owen Sound Bug Juice North Stars Three Stars were Kaleb Pearson (1G), Blade Jenkins (1G,2A) and Barret Kirwin (2G,1A).
The Owen Sound Attack return to action looking to start a new winning streak Wednesday night against the Niagara IceDogs at the Bayshore. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tickets are available online and at the MacVicar & McComb Sutton Realty Attack Box Office.