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Guelph Storm squander good start, let Saginaw take control in Spirit win

A bad second period did in the Guelph Storm in their game against the visiting Saginaw Spirit on Friday night.

The Spirit scored four times in the middle frame and held on to beat the Storm 4-2 at the Sleeman Centre.

The game did start off promising for Guelph (24-24-4-1) in the first period. Max Namestnikov scored his 22nd goal of the season on the power play for a 1-0 Storm lead.

Guelph has several more chances to score but couldn’t capitalize on two more power plays late in the period.

Sagniaw (28-21-2-1) turned it on in the second. Bode Stewart tied the game up for the Spirit then took the lead on Matyas Sapovaliv’s 17th of the season.

Calem Magone and Luke McNamara added to Saginaw’s lead scoring goals :55 apart late in the period to go up 4-1.

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“After that first period goal, the game got away from us,” said Namestnikov. “We need to get back to our game. We got to be more physical, we’re not playing within the system, we’re not giving it our all.”

The Storm did get one back as Valentin Zhugin recorded his 14th of the season to make 4-2 for Saginaw. Puck battles were the difference according to Storm head coach Chad Wiseman.

“Give Saginaw credit,” Wiseman said. “They played well in the second and third period of the game. They were first to the pucks and won a lot of the wall battles in our zone.”

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Mitchell Smith collected three assists while Tristan Lennox made 21 saves in the win for the Spirit.

Patrick Leaver fared much better than his previous start in Sarnia on Wednesday but still took the loss for the Storm, making 23 saves. Guelph remains tied for sixth place in the OHL’s western conference with Flint. Both teams have 53 points.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Storm as they head to Oshawa for a game on Saturday against the Generals, a team that is also battling for a playoff spot in the east. Then the Storm return home on Monday for a Family Day matinee against the Owen Sound Attack.

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“Unfortunately, we probably need some rest,” said Wiseman. “These are the dog days of the year. We have to find a way to dig down and battle through, turn around tomorrow, get a win, and get back on track.”

You can listen to the game Saturday on 1460 CJOY with the broadcast starting at 6:45 p.m. Larry Mellott will have the call of the game at 7:05 p.m.

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