One minute, Greg McKegg appeared to score the tying goal as time expired. The next minute, the video replay judge disallowed the goal, which sealed the Otters’ 4-3 loss to Saginaw at Tullio Arena.
Moments earlier, a second or two extra appeared to run off the clock after officials called a slashing penalty on Spirit defenseman Matt Ashman. The officials chose not to replace that time, leaving the Otters (7-13-1-0) with two seconds left on the clock.
McKegg scored off a rebound of Shawn Szydlowski’s shot as the green light, which signifies the end of the game, emerged. Seconds later, the green light was replaced by the red light, which signifies a goal.
After a review that lasted a few minutes, the crowd of 2,869 erupted into a chorus of
boos. Otters coach Robbie Ftorek argued vehemently with the officials for several minutes. Meanwhile, Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, voiced his displeasure long after the game ended. Then afterwards, Bassin and other club officials watched footage of the game’s final seconds. They determined the referees should have set the clock at 3.6 seconds, Bassin said.
According to Bassin, off-ice officials told Shawn Waskiewicz, Otters assistant general manager, that they didn’t hear the whistle over the crowd noise. At that point, Bassin said, the off-ice officials should have discussed the situation with the referees. “We got suckered in our own building for time,” Bassin said.
Video of the controversial goal was inconclusive, Bassin said.
Meanwhile, the Spirit (14-4-1-1) celebrated a win that snapped a two-game losing streak.
The teams battled to a scoreless tie for the first half of the opening period. Then Spirit center Michael Sgarbossa snuck a rebound past goaltender Ramis Sadikov for a 1-0 lead with 6:18 left in the period.
The Spirit extended the lead to 2-0 on a rebound, as Mathew Sisca fired a shot over a fallen Sadikov for Sisca’s sixth goal of the season. Meanwhile, the Otters squandered several scoring chances, headlined by Anthony Luciani’s wrist shot off the left post during a power play late in the period.
Yet the Otters capitalized on the power play 3:59 into the second, as defenseman Tyler Hostetter floated a shot from the point past Spirit goaltender Tadeas Galansky to slice Saginaw’s lead to 2-1.
That sparked a three-goal outburst that built a 3-2 lead heading to the third period. Rookie Macaulay McDonnell and Jordan Coccimiglio scored 1:47 apart late in the period. McDonnell poked a rebound through Galansky to tie the score at 2 with 6:11 left. Coccimiglio deflected defenseman Derek Holden’s shot from the blue line past Galansky to snap the tie with 4:36 remaining.
Sadikov stymied a Spirit attack that failed to score on all 18 shots on goal in the period. But the Spirit tied the score at 3 at the 7:16 mark of the third on Josh Shalla’s 14th goal of the season. Kantor then turned Ivan Telegin’s pinpoint cross-crease pass into the eventual winning goal.
- Victor Fernandes
Spirit 4, Otters 3
Saginaw 2 0 2 — 4
Erie 0 3 0 — 3
1st Period — 1. Saginaw, Michael Sgarbossa 5 (Saad), 13:42. 2. Saginaw, Mathew Sisca 6 (Szwarz, Shalla), 19:26. Penalties — Crisp (E) 5-min. fighting, 10:59; Kea (E) 5-min. fighting, 10:59; Camara (S) interference, 15:15.
2nd Period — 3. Erie, Tyler Hostetter 4 (Cairns, Marchese), 3:59 (pp). 4. Erie, Macaulay McDonnell 4 (Marchese, Hostetter), 13:49. 5. Erie, Jordan Coccimiglio 3 (Holden, Paton), 15:24. Penalties — Kantor (S) goaltender interference, :53; Kantor (S) interference, 3:38; Appio (E) 5-min. fighting, 11:43; Kantor (S) 5-min. fighting, 11:43.
3rd Period — 6. Saginaw, Josh Shalla 14 (Szwarz, Sisca), 7:16. 7. Saginaw, Michael Kantor 7 (Telegin, Trocheck), 17:15. Penalties — Ashman (S) slashing, 19:58.
Shots on goal — Saginaw, 8-18-8—34; Erie, 12-13-10—35.
Goaltenders — Saginaw, Tadeas Galansky 5-0-1-0 (35 shots, 32 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 7-10-1-0 (34 shots, 30 saves).
Power plays — Saginaw (0-0), Erie (1-4).
Referees — Darren Price, Chris Carnegie. Linesmen — Fraser McIntire, Sean Pindar.
Attendance — 2,869.
* Josh Shalla, Spirit (goal, assist) ** Jordan Coccimiglio, Otters (goal) *** Tyler Hostetter, Otters (goal, assist)