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Preview: Spirit host Spitfires on ‘Love Shouldn’t Hurt’ night Saturday at The Dow

All good things must come to an end.

 

With just one game shy of matching their longest win streak in franchise history, the Saginaw spirit fell short following Friday’s 4-1 loss to the London knights at the Budweiser Gardens.

 

Saginaw endured its first defeat in regulation in over a month, having gone 11-1-1-0 since December 6, as well as winning seven straight to begin the second half of the 2018-19 season.

 

The Spirit still remain in that third-place standing in the Western Conference but fall back three points behind the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for the West Division lead.

 

They’ll look to regroup tonight in the first of a three-game home stand at The Dow Event Center. Puck drop for the first annual “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” game against the Windsor Spitfires is set for 7:05 p.m.

 

Broadcast, Promotional & Ticket Info 

 

Listen live on OHLLive.com, the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk & Sports and fmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers. “Countdown to Face-off” with host Domenic Papa starts 15 minutes before puck drop.

 

Underground Railroad, Inc., Bay Area Women’s Center and Shelterhouse have partnered with the Spirit to present $13.00 upper level fundraising tickets are available for purchase, with $5 from each ticket sold will support domestic violence victims in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

 

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.

 

Last Time Out

 

Edmonton Oilers prospect Ryan McLeod extended Saginaw’s first game goal streak to six games with his 14th of the year in the early going of the second period against London.

 

Drafted in the second round (40th) overall of the 2018 NHL Draft, McLeod has recorded two goals and three assists for five points since joining the Spirit via trade on January 3.

 

Saginaw goaltender Ivan Prosvetov wouldn’t allow a goal until the five-minute mark of the second before his eight-game run without a loss ended on Friday.

 

The 2018 CHL Import Draft first rounder commands a goals against average (GAA) of 3.00 with a 0.904 save percentage (SAV%), still leading the league in shutouts this season with three despite giving up the most goals in a single game since December 29.

 

As the only club in the Western Conference to remain under the single-digit mark in losses, the Knights were held scoreless for 25 minutes and were unsuccessful on four power play opportunities.

 

Friday was the first-of-four regular-season meetings between the two clubs, who’ll faceoff at The Dow on February 9.

 

Spirit Standouts

 

McLeod arrived to Saginaw from the Mississauga Steelheads in the hopes of making a significant run in the postseason come March.

 

Along with 2017 Florida Panthers first round (10th overall) draft pick Owen Tippett, the pair of offensive standouts have already combined for eight points in the four games played since being traded.

 

While with the Steelheads, Tippett was held to without a point in just four of his first 20 games this season with Mississauga, before leaving the team on December 7 for the IIHF World Junior Championship.

 

McLeod yields the second-most assists (29) and points (43) among Spirit players.

 

Prosvetov, who was drafted in the fourth round (114th overall) by the Arizona Coyotes in 2017, is the reigning CHL Goaltender of the Week after a pair of superb outings in net earlier this week.

 

The Moscow native stopped 54 shots this past Sunday against the Sudbury Wolves en route to his league-leading third shutout.

 

Prosvetov stands only behind Cedrick Andree of the Ottawa 67’s for most wins by an OHL goaltender.

 

Currently leading the team in goals (21) and points (48) is 19-year-old forward Cole Coskey, who recently had his 10-game point streak snapped against the Wolves.

 

During that run, the Zion, Illinois, native notched 11 goals and 11 assists, including three goals and three assists on January 2 en route to Saginaw’s second straight Coors Light I-75 Divide Cup title and fifth consecutive win over the Flint Firebirds.

 

Coskey was credited with the assist on the McLeod goal Friday, which earned him his 27th of the year for third-highest by a Spirit player.

 

Receiving OHL Defenseman of the Month honors for December, Bode Wilde is one-of-two Spirit players alongside Tippett to have already signed entry-level contracts with an NHL franchise.

 

Drafted by the New York Islanders in the second round (41st overall) in 2018, Wilde currently ranks in the top-five for most goals (11), assists (31) and points (42) among league blueliners, scoring a power play goal in Saginaw’s last win on January 9 against the Hamilton Bulldogs.

 

On special teams, the power play for the Spirit is sixth-best in the league with 34 goals scored for a 23.9 percent success rate.. The penalty kill is ranked third overall with 25 goals allowed for an 82.1 percent success rate.

 

Windsor Scouting Report

 

The Spitfires have hovered around that bottom-four playoff team picture for a majority of the season, keeping forth that competitive edge even after the trade of future NHL goaltender Michael DiPietro back in early December.

 

Currently holding down seventh place in the Western Conference and fourth place in the West Division, Windsor had its four-game winning streak come to a close on the road Friday by the Greyhounds. At 19 wins, 20 losses, two overtime losses and one shootout loss, the Spitfires combined for 21 goals during that run.

 

Having already surpassed 100 career points, 19-year-old forward Cole Purboo has accounted for at least one point in 10 of the last 11 games, leading the team in goals (20) and points (36). Purboo recently scored a hat trick on January 4 against the Guelph Storm.

 

17-year-old forward Daniel D’Amico is second in both assists (19) and points (35), who’s recorded 12 points in the last nine games. Vegas Golden Knights prospect Connor Corcoran leads all Windsor defenseman in scoring with 19 points on six goals and 13 assists.

 

Rookie goaltender Kari Piiroinen, drafted by the Spitfires in the first round (30th overall) in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, has compiled a record of 7-7-2-0 with a goals against average (GAA) of 3.85 and 0.884 save percentage (SAV%). In 12 appearances this season, fourth-year backup Colton Incze is averaging 27.8 saves a game with a record of 3-7-0-0

 

On special teams, Windsor is ranked 16th in the OHL on the power play this season with 25 goals scored for a 17.7 percent success rate. The Spitfires have the sixth best man-down unit with 29 goals allowed for a 81.3 percent success rate.

 

Featured NHL Prospects

 

There will be a combined 10 players on the ice Saturday with their rights owned by NHL teams. For the Spitfires, it’ll be Curtis Douglas (Dallas) and Connor Corcoran (Vegas).

 

Captain Damien Giroux (Minnesota), defenseman Reilly Webb (Detroit), forwards Brady Gilmour (Detroit) and Blade Jenkins (NY Islander), McLeod (Edmonton), Tippett (Florida), Prosvetov (Arizona) and Wilde (NY Islanders) will represent Saginaw.

 

Looking Ahead 

 

Saginaw will wrap up their three-game home stand at The Dow on Saturday, January 19, hosting the Erie Otters and then the Spitfires on Sunday, January 20.

 

Saturday will mark the final of a four-game regular-season series between the Spirit and Otters, who last met on December 29 in a 6-4 final in favor of Saginaw.

 

Erie, who sit ninth overall in the Western Conference with 36 points, will play back-to-back games this weekend against the Owen Sound Attack at home tonight before visiting the Oshawa Generals tomorrow.

 

Taking the first three games in the series this season, Windsor’s only win at The Dow came on November 17 in a five-goal affair. The Spitfires stunned Saginaw in overtime on December 16 at the WFCU Centre in a 4-3 decision.

 

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