Preview: Spirit faceoff against Wolves Sunday winners of five straight games
Saginaw, MI – The red-hot Saginaw Spirit (23-11-2-2 50 pts.) continue their three-game home stand Sunday afternoon against the Sudbury Wolves (21-13-2-1 45 pts.) The Spirit catapulted into third place in the Western Conference after winning five-straight games and nine of the last 10. The Spirit dropped the first meeting of the season against the Wolves, 3-2 in a shootout.
Watch live on OHLLive.com or listen to the game on the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk & Sports, fmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers. Pre-game coverage starts 15 minutes before puck drop with Domenic Papa.
Puck drop is set for 5:30 p.m. with Cat Boy from PJ Masks appearing in the Budweiser Red Room beginning at 4:00 p.m. presented by Fairy-Tale Entertainment. Fans are encouraged to bring skates for the opportunity to skate with the Saginaw Spirit players following the game against Sudbury.
Saginaw’s two latest acquisitions Ryan McLeod and Owen Tippett made immediate contributions in their Spirit debut. The two helped Saginaw complete a 5-2 victory Saturday evening against the Kitchener Rangers at The Dow Event Center.
McLeod, an Edmonton Oilers second round pick, notched two assists in the first period against Kitchener. The former Flint Firebirds first round pick was acquired via trade Wednesday, January 2 from the Mississauga Steelheads. McLeod has a six-game point streak heading into Sunday’s game versus the Wolves.
Tippett was also acquired from the Steelheads before the game on Saturday. The 2017 first round pick of the Florida Panthers collected a goal and assist in his Spirit debut. Tippett has 20 goals and 15 assists through just 24 games this season. The Peterborough, Ontario native spent the last few weeks playing for Hockey Canada in the World Junior Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Saginaw Spirit leading scorer Cole Coskey continued his torrid scoring pace on Saturday with a goal and assist. The Zion, Illinois native has 23 points during his current 10-game point streak. Coskey’s point streak is the longest by a Spirit player since Albert Michnac’s 13-game point streak to start the season.
Michnac had two goals in Saginaw’s victory over Kitchener. The second goal by the overager came 16 seconds after the Rangers scored to come within one goal.
New York Islanders prospect Bode Wilde extended his point streak to eight games with an assist in Saturday’s win. The former University of Michigan commit was named the OHL Defenseman of the Month with 16 points in just 10 games. Wilde is third among OHL defensemen with 41 points, just one point behind Sault Ste. Marie’s Mac Hollowell and Peterborough’s Ryan Merkley.
Sunday’s contest will feature two of the leagues top rookie scorers and top 2020 NHL draft prospects.
Saginaw first round pick Cole Perfetti’s 33 points is second among OHL rookies this season through just 33 games. Perfetti has a goal and five assists in his current four-game point streak. The left-winger was selected fifth overall in the 2018 OHL Priority Draft by the Saginaw Spirit.
Sudbury selected Quinton Byfield first overall in the 2018 OHL Priority Draft. The rookie center is third among OHL rookies with 31 points, behind just Sarnia’s Jacob Perreault and Perfetti.
The Wolves have benefitted by superb goaltending, Buffalo Sabres prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has shined in his first OHL season. Luukkonen, Sudbury’s first overall Import draft pick, has 19 of the 21 Sudbury victories with two shutouts this season. The Espoo, Finland native has a 2.49 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. Luukkonen and the Finnish team won the Gold Medal at World Juniors Saturday night by knocking off Team USA in Vancouver, B.C.
David Levin leads the Wolves in all the top-offensive categories. Levin’s 16 goals, 20 assists, and 36 points are the most by any Sudbury player this season.
Saginaw has eight players that have been drafted by NHL teams. Forwards Brady Gilmour (Detroit Red Wings), Blade Jenkins (New York Islanders), Owen Tippett (Florida Panthers), Ryan McLeod (Edmonton Oilers), Damien Giroux (Minnesota Wild), defensemen Bode Wilde (New York Islanders), Reilly Webb (Detroit Red Wings), and goaltender Ivan Prosvetov (Arizona Coyotes). Both Wilde and Tippett have signed with their respective NHL organizations.
Saginaw completes their home stand Wednesday, January 9 against the defending OHL champion Hamilton Bulldogs at 7:05 p.m. It will be the first meeting of the season between the two teams. There is a $5 Student/Military Ticket Rush for the game presented by Reder Landscaping.
To purchase tickets to any Saginaw Spirit home game call (989) 497-7747, visit saginawspirit.com, or by visiting the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw, MI.