Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario – The Saginaw Spirit (6-3-1-0; 13 pts.) had their first setback in the month of October, stalling a five-game winning streak and at least a point in each of their last six contests.
Falling to new points leader in the West, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (6-3-2-0; 14 pts.), 6-3 on the road at the GFL Memorial Gardens, it’s the first regulation loss this season for the Spirit since Sept. 27.
The Greyhounds jumped out to an early lead when 18-year-old right-winger Ryan Roth scored his second goal of the season on Spirit goaltender Cameron Lamour at 12:10 into the first period.
Lamour earned his first start in net in 12 days when the third-round draft pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection recorded 29 saves in Saginaw’s road overtime win against the Kitchener Rangers. Lamour’s first win came in the season-opener on Sept. 19 as he allowed just two goals to the Greyhounds in the 5-2 win at the Dow Event Center.
Right-winger Cole MacKay would grab his fifth goal of the season at 14:00 of the second period to make it 2-0 Greyhounds. MacKay received the deep pass from leading scorer Morgan Frost and beat out three Saginaw players for the breakaway goal. Defenseman Mac Hollowell, a fourth round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2018 NHL draft, moved the Soo to a three-goal advantage 1:28 later.
Hollowell and Frost each pocketed an assist from 20-year-old Keeghan Howdeshell’s goal with 2:09 before the third period for the 4-0 Greyhounds lead. Both clubs put 20 shots on goal after 40 minutes play.
Lamour recorded 16 saves before being pulled in favor of rookie Tristan Lennox to start the third period. Lennox, who’ll join the 66 players representing Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge on Nov. 3-10 in Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B., made his first appearance for the Spirit since Sept. 27 at Windsor.
Drafted in the second round in the 2018 Priority Selection, Lennox was assigned to Milton Icehawks Jr. A of the OJHL on Oct. 1. The 16-year-old would pitch the shutout period to finish with six saves.
After 46 scoreless minutes, Spirit leading scorer Albert Michnac brought the deficit to within three with the assist from right-winger Cole Coskey. Michnac, tied for 10th among all OHL players with 15 points, scored his sixth of the season after starting the first three games with three goals.
On the immediate face-off, the Spirit scored again off Soo goaltender Matthew Villalta just 18 seconds later to make it 4-2. Rookie forward Cole Perfetti, drafted fifth overall of the first round earlier this year, notched his fifth goal this season and third against the Greyhounds.
With the assist coming from assistant captain D.J. Busdeker, Perfetti turned heads in the season opener after scoring twice in his OHL debut. It’s the first goal for the 17-year-old since Oct. 6 in the 4-3 win over the Erie Otters.
The Greyhounds grabbed the insurance goal from Barrett Haydon’s fourth of the year with 17:54 left in the game, 11 seconds after Saginaw pulled Lennox for the extra-man. Busdeker responded to the empty netter with his second goal this season with 1:13 remaining.
The Spirit would allow another empty netter goal in the final minute to Frost, who ranks third overall in the OHL with 19 points, after removing their first-year goalie once again.
Both teams went on the power play just once with the Spirit receiving their opportunity at 4:07 into the final frame.
Applebee’s 3 Stars of the Game:
1. Morgan Frost (SOO) – G, 3A, +3
2. Mac Hollowell (SOO) – G, 2A, +4
3. Keeghan Howdeshell (SOO) – G, +1
Saginaw will return to the Dow for a two-game home stand this upcoming weekend. Welcoming first the Barrie Colts on Friday, Oct. 19, the Spirit continue the Coors I-75 Divide Rivalry on Saturday, Oct. 20, for the second of an eight-game series against the Flint Firebirds.
To purchase your tickets for all Saginaw home games, call (989) 497-7747, visit saginawspirit.com or by visiting the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw, MI.