Spirit fall to Otters in Erie, 5-3 in second preseason contest
Erie, Penn. – The Saginaw Spirit lost to a Western Conference foe in the Erie Otters on Sunday afternoon despite multi-point efforts from Valentin Zhugin and Luke McNamara. Kyle Downey started the night between the pipes before Nolan Lalonde took over for Erie, and Brett Fullerton preceded Kalib Papineau in the Spirit crease.
The first entry onto the score sheet was a Nic Sima high-sticking penalty at 6:09. The Spirit managed to kill the penalty and ride the momentum into some shots at the other end.
McNamara lit the lamp for the Spirit at the 15:17 mark of period one. After Josh Glavin held the zone, Valentin Zhugin threw a cross-ice pass into the right faceoff circle. McNamara wired a shot past Kyle Downey’s glove for the 1-0 lead.
Braden Haché and Georgy Toroptsev took offsetting roughing minors in the period’s final moments, and the Spirit rode a 1-0 lead into the dressing room. They outshot Erie 9-6 after 20 minutes.
In the second period, Nolan Lalonde took over for the Otters in goal. The offense began in the second period with a Joey Willis breakaway. After being hauled down and awarded a penalty shot, the second-year forward deked goaltender Lalonde and threw a backhand shot over his glove for the 2-0 lead at 10:18.
Rookie Goaltender Kaleb Papineau replaced Brett Fullerton midway through the second period. Fullerton stopped all 12 shots the Otters threw his way.
Erie managed to strike back on a 2-on-1 a few minutes later. At 15:47 of the second period, Taeo Artichuk found rookie Matthew Shaeffer, who tipped his second of the preseason past Kaleb Papineau to get Erie on the board.
After 40 minutes, Saginaw held a 2-1 lead despite being outshot 19-16.
The Otters opened the third period scoring with a Matthew Schaefer powerplay goal at 4:31 with Jacob Cloutier in the box for tripping. Two minutes later, Liam Gilmartin and Pano Fimis linked up on a Spencer Sova goal to give the Otters a 3-2 lead.
At 8:05, Luke McNamara and Valentin Zhugin connected in the offensive zone once again. Zhugin ripped home a McNamara pass to the blocker side of Nolan Lalonde to tie the game at 3-3.
Pano Fimis fired a shot low to Kaleb Papineau’s glove side at 10:06 in the third period for what proved to be the game-winner. Wesley Royston added an empty-netter eight minutes later, and the Otters skated to the 5-3 victory.
The Spirit will round out their preseason with a visit to the Soo Greyhounds on September 22nd before hosting them on September 23rd at the Dow Event Center. General admission tickets for Saginaw’s 7:05pm home preseason game are available for just $10 here.
For media inquiries, contact Dillon Clark at [email protected].