Sapovaliv nets OT winner, Parekh makes Spirit history Saturday against Colts
Photo: Eric Young
Saginaw, Mich. – The Saginaw Spirit (33-13-0-1) completed the come-from-behind victory against the Barrie Colts (19-25-2-0) on Saturday, February 3rd at the Dow Event Center. Alex Christopoulos collected two points (1G,1A) with Matyas Sapovaliv doing the same including the game winning overtime goal. Zayne Parekh scored his 23rd of the season setting a new Spirit single-season record for a defenseman. Sam Hillebrandt started for the Colts stopping 36 of 40 shots, while Nolan Lalonde extended his win streak to 12 straight with 19 saves on 22 shots.
At 3:47 into the opening period, Saginaw scored the opening goal of the game. After dumping the puck in, the Spirit forecheck forced a turnover with efforts from Aidan Castle and Alex Christopoulos. The fellow acquired teammates brushed the puck behind the net allowing Christopoulos to force the puck up to James Guo. The Saginaw defensemen evaded the Colts pressure and laid a pass off for Christopoulos. The winger made a quick pass to Hunter Haight who was drifting in the slot, opening up a perfect shooting lane. His quick wrister found the right side of the netting past the glove of Colts goaltender Sam Hillebrandt for the 1-0 lead.
Despite two powerplay chances for Barrie and one for Saginaw, neither team could add one to the board. The Spirit took the 1-0 lead into intermission and a 12-4 shot advantage.
Saginaw picked up where they left off in the first scoring just 3:57 into the second period. Sebastien Gervais controlled the puck below the goal line before advancing it for James Guo and Zayne Parekh. The draft eligible prospect swapped places with Guo, then fired a shot onto the crowded net-front. Parekh’s shot found the open spot around the crowd and past Hillebrandt’s blocker hand. This goal marked Parekh’s 23rd goal of the season, setting up Saginaw with a two goal lead and breaking the record for the most goals scored by a Spirit defenseman in a single season.
After both teams completed unproductive power plays, Barrie notched their first tally on the board with only 48 seconds remaining. Beau Jelsma notched his 19th of the season after a net-front scramble. An assist went to Jack Brauti and the Colts entered the second intermission trailing by just one.
At 6:42 into the final period, Saginaw’s Calem Mangone was assessed a two-minute minor for slashing, setting up Barrie’s fourth power play of the game. On the power play, Cole Beaudoin ripped a shot home for his 22nd of the year, tying the game at 2-2.
Following another Saginaw penalty, this one on Jorian Donovan, Barrie again received a powerplay opportunity. This time it was Riley Patterson cashing home his 18th of the season for the 3-2 Barrie lead.
Alex Christopoulos tied the game just four minutes later, his 18th of the season screaming past Hillebrandt to even the score at 3-3. Matyas Sapovaliv and Calem Mangone picked up assists on the equalizer.
At the tail end of the third period, Barrie would be whistled for a penalty at 19:17 on Thomas Stewart, setting up a short 22 second five-on-four with an ensuing 1:38 of powerplay time. With Saginaw unable to score before the final buzzer, the game would head to overtime.
In OT, Saginaw took full advantage of the four-on-three setup. Passing around the umbrella setup between Owen Beck, Michael Misa, and Zayne Parekh. After a few blocked shots, Parekh sent a hard shot-pass to the net that found Sapovaliv’s stick for the game-winner.
Saginaw finished with 40 shots, 14 in the final frame and one in overtime, while the Colts finished with 22.
Saginaw’s come-from-behind victory raised the Spirit to (33-13-0-1) on the year.
Saginaw’s next game is tomorrow afternoon at the Dow Event center to face the Ottawa 67’s on Faith Night with a 5:30 PM puck drop and with a post-game autograph session sponsored by Upper Deck.
For media inquiries, contact Dillon Clark at [email protected]