Attack shutout the Spirit
Five different players scored goals and Mack Guzda recorded his 1st career Ontario Hockey League shutout on Saturday night as the Owen Sound Attack took down the Saginaw Spirit by a score of 5-0 in front of a sold out Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
Brett McKenzie, Maksim Sushko, Nick Suzuki, Ethan Szypula, and Alan Lyszczarczyk all found the back of the net for Owen Sound on the night as the team locked up no worse than 5th in the Western Conference with the win.
Saturday night’s game had a furiously quick start to it, with both teams pushing the pace immediately after puck drop.
An early Baywest Nissan Powerplay proved fruitless for the Attack, but a special teams goal was still on the menu for the Bayshore Boys after Chase Campbell was called for hooking at the 10:54 mark of the 1st.
Despite being shorthanded, overage forward Brett McKenzie was able to force a turnover in the Saginaw zone before doing all the work himself to put his squad up.
After corralling the puck, McKenzie circled back into offensive territory, out waited Evan Cormier in the Spirit goal, and eventually ripped his 17th of the season off the underside of the cross bar and into the back of the net to make it 1-0 with 11:34 having been played in the period.
That goal only boosted the Attack, who continued to push the pace, eventually extending their lead with 2:36 remaining in the frame.
A quick up by Jacob Friend to Trent Bourque allowed Maksim Sushko to get lost in the neutral zone and sneak behind the Spirit defence.
Recognizing that, Bourque hit the Philadelphia Flyers’ prospect with a breakaway pass and Sushko was off to the races, making no mistake on his 30th of the year to give Owen Sound a 2-0 lead heading into the intermission.
As fast paced as the 1st was, the 2nd was anything but in the early going.
A near endless stream of whistles prevented either team from generating much in the way of offence, but eventually the Attack’s quick-strike offence would find their sea legs.
Just after the TV timeout, Kevin Hancock hit a streaking Nick Suzuki with a pass in the neutral zone, which the Vegas Golden Knights’ prospect picked up in full stride.
Owen Sound’s leading point scorer then continued his blistering pace, crossing the Spirit blueline and quickly snapping his 35th of the season past Evan Cormier at 12:04 of the 2nd.
Hancock drew the lone assist on the 3-0 goal, which also marked Suzuki’s 100th career Ontario Hockey League tally, a goal that sparked the Bears even further.
A few minutes after Suzuki gave his squad a three goal lead, his line went right back to work, pinning Saginaw deep in their own end.
The Spirit were able to clear, but only briefly, and after Trent Bourque fired the puck back into the offensive zone, Jonah Gadjovich went fishing for the biscuit behind Cormier’s net, eventually feeding the puck into the slot to a wide open Ethan Szypula.
Szypula easily tapped the puck in, giving Owen Sound a 4-0 lead with 3:05 to play in the 2nd, a score that stood as the buzzer rang to mark the beginning of the 2nd intermission.
When play resumed in the 3rd, the Spirit opted to to make a change in net, putting in Cameron Lamour after Evan Cormier made 19 saves on 23 shots in 40 minutes of work.
And while Lamour would fare a bit better in the Spirit cage than his teammate, eventually the Attack would find a chink in his armour.
With just 15 seconds left in regulation, Alan Lyszczarczyk would make it 5-0, taking a pass from Brady Lyle and spinning around to whistle the puck through Lamour’s wickets for the final tally of the game.
The Shots on Goal finished at 34-16 for the Attack on the evening, with Mack Guzda turning aside all 16 he faced to record the shutout and pick up the Mac Taylor Corporation 1st Star of the Game.
Trent Bourque was named the game’s 2nd star, while Nick Suzuki earned 3rd star honours.
Rounding out the post game awards was Jonah Gadjovich, who was named the Hatten Home Building Centre Hardest Working Player of the Game for his efforts.
Owen Sound will finish up their weekend against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Sunday afternoon at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
The game, which will be the team’s final Investment Planning Counsel Sunday game of the year, begins at 2:00pm and will feature free popcorn for the first 200 kids through the doors, a pair of jersey giveaways, and a post game skate and autograph session with the team – all courtesy of IPC.