On Saturday night the Spartans hosted the New Tecumseth Civics (11-11-2). The last time the Civics were in town, the Spartans came back from down two in the third, only to give up the winning goal with 40 seconds left. Both clubs were looking to grab a very important 2 points as heading into the contest only 2 points separated the West Nipissing Lynx, Almaguin Spartans and New Tecumseth Civics between 4th and 6th place in the North Division.
The Spartans came out and carried the play to the Civics early on, but it would the Civics striking first. Skvortsov would tied the game at the 8:48 mark from Eruslanov, but the Civics would regain the lead before the end of the period. Four minutes into the second the Civics would grab a 3-1 lead. The Spartans would reply 36 seconds later as Gazimov snapped one from the point top shelve from Thorsen and Smith. Just over a minute later the Civics would score a beauty on a 3 on 2 rush. At the 12:32 mark of the second the Civics would score again on a 2 on 0 rush to take a commanding 5-2 lead. The Spartans faced a huge uphill battle heading in the third period. Head Coach Myles Pepin made a major adjustment to the Spartans forecheck and shuck up the line combinations with assistant coach Gary Coalter heading into the third period. These adjustments quickly paid off as Eruslanov would snap one home from Skvortsov to get things going. Less then two minutes later Circenis cut the lead to 5-4 as he ripped a slap shot top shelve off the rush from Thorsen. With 8 minutes remaining in the game Gazimov would score on a highlight reel goal on a breakaway from Circenis. The teams would trade chances back and forth and with only 40 seconds left in the game Flack would jam one home and bring the Spartans crowd to its feet on a goal mouth scramble from Gazimov and Circenis. The Civics would press in the final 40 seconds, but they were unable to solve Petiul. Final score 6-5 Spartans, shots 40-33 Spartans. Spartans are now in 4th place in the North Division with a 13-10-0 record.
1st Star Ildan Gazimov 2G, 1A
2nd Star Roman Kilakov (Civics) 2G, 2A
3rd Star Ralfs Circenis 1G, 2A
Spartans Head Coach Myles Pepin had this say about the Spartans performance “I thought we played descent in the first two periods, but we couldn’t get a bounce and Civics capitalized on every opportunity they had. We made some adjustments between the second and third period and the guys just went out in third and gave me everything they had and executed our game plan to a tee. Scoring four goals in the third, coming back from a three-goal deficit and grabbing a very important two points in the standings is a real confidence booster for our team. This is a character win and shows the fight and resiliency this team has. We have three very important practices this week before we take on two of the top clubs in the North Division. On Thursday we hit the road to take on Ville Marie and Friday we host the Titans. Were looking forward to this challenge and having a full line up this week is going to be key to playing 60 minutes of hard, disciplined, two-way hockey against both teams.”