Frontenacs lose to Saginaw

DOUG GRAHAM, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

KINGSTON — The Western Division-leading Saginaw Spirit, charged up by a blockbuster trade to boost a deep lineup, proved to be too much for the Kingston Frontenacs on Friday night.

Even though they have been a better team on the road than at the K-Rock Centre, Kingston didn’t have the trump card to deal with a Spirit squad which has lost only three of 13 games at the Dow Event Centre.

Former Frontenacs goaltender Mavric Parks turned back 32 shots to register the 70th win of his Ontario Hockey League career, while John McFarland picked up an assist in his Saginaw debut as the Spirit defeated the Frontenacs 4-1 before 3,211 fans.

McFarland and defenceman Ben Chiarot were acquired by the Spirit Thursday in a trade with the Sudbury Wolves.

Two shorthanded goals by the Spirit, the second one by Vincent Trocheck just two minutes after Sean Jones had scored to cut Saginaw’s 2-0 third-period lead in half, proved to be the undoing for the Frontenacs.

Jordan Szwarz, with a late power-play goal, finished off the scoring for Saginaw.

Kingston finished the night 0-for-6 on the power play along with giving up the pair of shorthanded goals.

Frontenacs goaltender Philipp Grubauer faced 47 shots.

“Overall I thought it wasn’t a bad game. It was just our top guys didn’t show up and play the way they should,” coach Doug Gilmour said.

Forwards Michael Fine and Conor Stokes were pressed into duty on the blueline after Mitch Gaulton received a concussion on a check to the head by the Spirit’s Micky Sartoretto.

“He got two minutes for knocking the helmet off and Gaults got a concussion. That isn’t right,” Gilmour said.

The shorthanded goals by Saginaw were the key scores of the game.

“Their PK utilized a couple of lost pucks by us and got two goals from it,” Gilmour said.

Josh Shalla and Mathew Sisca scored in the second period to put Saginaw up 2-0 going to the third. There had been no scoring in the first period.

The game’s opening goal by Shalla came after a fight between Frontenacs rookie Alex Gudbranson and Sartoretto of the Spirit. Sartoretto also was fingered for the minor penalty on his hit to Gaulton’s head.

The Spirit, despite being in penalty trouble for much of the game’s first half, were able to blunt any Kingston scoring attempts.

Chiarot went off for roughing eight seconds after the opening faceoff.

The Spirit defused that shorthanded situation and two more in the period as the Frontenacs were 0-for-3 against a Saginaw penalty killing unit which boasts an 85% success rate, second best in the league.

Aside from the Kingston power plays, Grubauer was the busier of the two goalies.

Saginaw held a 16-6 advantage in shots in the first.

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The Frontenacs added forward Spencer Green for a three-game road swing that started Friday night. Green, an eighth-round draft selection last May, played a three games earlier for the team before being sent to the Lindsay Muskies of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. Defenceman Jeff Braithwaite is out with pneumonia. ... The game was the ninth for Kingston against Western Conference opponents. Kingston had picked up 12 of 16 points in its previous games with the west teams. ... Kingston is staying in Plymouth, Mich., for the first two nights of the trip. The team will come back into Canada Sunday morning and play in Windsor against the Spitfires in the afternoon.


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