Whalers Come Back Twice, Lose to Saginaw, 6-5

Whalers Come Back Twice, Lose to Saginaw, 6-5

Photo - Matt Mistele led the Whalers attack with two goals and two assists Wednesday in Saginaw. Photo by Rena Laverty.

SAGINAW - Nick Moutrey's goal at 15:05 of the third period snapped a 5-5 tie and the Saginaw Spirit defeated the Plymouth Whalers 6-5, in an Ontario Hockey League game played Wednesday before 2,354 at Dow Event Center in Saginaw.

Plymouth has their four-game winning streak snapped as is now 19-13-5-3, good for 46 points and five points behind first place Sarnia (now 24-14-0-3, 51 points), who lost, 3-1, to Sault Ste. Marie on Wednesday.

Saginaw has won three games in a row and is 18-19-3-2, good for 41 points and fourth place in the OHL West.

Besides Moutrey's game-winner at 13th of the year, Saginaw got two goals and an assist from first star Justin Kea (14-15), two goals from Gregg Sutch (2-3) and a goal and an assist from Erie Locke (24).

The Whalers were led offensively by second star Matt Mistele, who scored two goals (18-19) with two assists.  The Whalers also received a goal and an assist each by Mitchell Heard (2), Connor Carrick (8) and Tom Wilson (12).

Plymouth came from behind twice in the game, from an early 3-0 hole in the first period and to tie the game at 4-4 in the second period.  The Whalers tied the game again at 5-5 in the third period.

Alex Nedeljkovic started in goal for Plymouth, but was lifted in the first period after Saginaw scored three goals in a span of 2:06 - Sutch (shot from the right circle at 2:15), Locke (rebound from the lower rim of the left circle at 2:56) and Kea (backhand from the lower rim of the right circle at 4:21).  Nedeljkovic faced five shots and made two saves in 4:21.

Matt Mahalak went the rest of the way in goal for Plymouth, stopping 21-of-24 shots over 54:45.

The goaltending change seemed to work for the Whalers for a time and Heard scored on backhand at the right hashmark at 8:50 and Carrick scored on a redirect on a Plymouth power play at 15:31 to cut the Saginaw lead to 3-2.  But Kea restored the two-goal Saginaw lead with a goal at 19:14 and the Spirit led, 4-2, after one period.

The Whalers responded immediately in the second period to tie the game at 4-4.  Mistele scored at 0:52, taking the puck away from Spirit goaltender Jake Paterson behind the Saginaw goal and stuffing the puck into the net on a wraparound.  Mistele then tied the game at 4-4, deflecting Heard's shot from the right circle.  The puck caromed off Paterson's shoulder and into the net.

Saginaw re-took the lead at 5-4 at 8:19 of the period, with Locke skating wide-left wing into the Plymouth zone and feeding the puck out in front to Sutch, who made no mistake with the shot.

Saginaw led, 5-4, after forty minutes.

The Whalers carried the play through the first half of the third period, outshooting Saginaw, 8-1, over the first ten minutes of the period.  Wilson scored a spectacular goal at 9:40 of the period to tie the game at 5-5.  Wilson carried the puck deep into the Saginaw zone on the right wing, cut across the Spirit blue crease and scored on a back hand.

But Kea set up the eventual game winner for Saginaw, moving to the lower rim of the right circle in Whalers territory and feeding out in front to Moutrey, who scored at 15:08 to give Saginaw a 6-5 lead.

The Whalers had one final opportunity to try to tie when Spirit defenseman Jason Shaw was penalized for tripping at 18:23.  Mahalak was pulled with a minute left and Plymouth pressured but could not find the equalizer. 

Heard received the first Whalers penalty of the game with 5.9 seconds remaining.  The penalty meant the ensuing faceoff was taken in the Plymouth zone.  Plymouth head coach Mike Vellucci called a time-out and diagrammed a play, but time ran out.

Plymouth outshot Saginaw, 34-29.

The Whalers are home this weekend, hosting Brampton on Friday and Erie on Saturday at Compuware Arena.  Both game start at 7:05 pm.

GAME SUMMARY.

ADDITIONAL COVERAGE: Saginaw News.

OHL TRADE DEADLINE: The Final OHL Trade Deadline is Thursday at noon.  Follow all the deals here.

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