SAGINAW, Mich. - The Kitchener Rangers scored three times in the first period and then held off a late surge to beat the Saginaw Spirit 4-2 and move on to the second round of the Ontario Hockey League's playoffs.
Kitchener won the series 4-2 and will face the London Knights in the next level of post-season play.
Mickey Sartoretto, Jeff Skinner and Julian Cimadamore staked the Rangers to a 3-0 lead by the first intermission. Dan Kelly's empty-net goal added some insurance with 12 seconds remaining in the game.
Ryan O'Connor and Jordan Hill scored goals for Saginaw, both with under 7 minutes to play. Tyler Murovich had a pair of assists.
Saginaw pressed the attack and came close twice but goaltender Brandon Maxwell had two big saves to extinguish the Spirit.
Maxwell was the key to the series win with big stops after big stops finished with 35 saves. Edward Pasquale stopped 32 shots.