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Preview: Ice Blast Weekend continues as Spirit host Generals at The Dow

Saginaw, MI – The Saginaw Spirit wrap up a four-game home stand tonight at The Dow Event Center as they host the Oshawa Generals. 

Saturday marks the first of a two-game regular-season series between the Spirit and second-place OHL East Division Generals. 

Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (EST).

There’s still a three-point difference between Saginaw and West Division leader Sault Ste. Greyhounds. However, if they win their next two games before the Greyhounds play next on Tuesday, it’ll be the first time the Spirit have taken over first place since the month of September.

The Spirit have won five of the last eight games against Oshawa dating back to the 2013-14 season. 

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 Faceoff” with host Domenic Papa starts at 6:50 p.m. (EST).

Ice Blast Weekend continues tonight with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. (EST) for a live performance from the “Cool2Duel” Dueling Pianos and chili cook-off. 

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

Arizona Coyotes goaltending prospect Ivan Prosvetov nearly pitched his fourth career shutout Friday as the Spirit won their 14th consecutive home game, routing the Owen Sound Attack 6-1. 

Improving to 22-5-1-1 on the season when possessing home-ice advantage, Saginaw extended its overall winning streak to six games, clinching an OHL Playoff berth for the 13th time dating back to 2005-06.

D.J. Busdeker received first-star honors on two goals for his first two-point outing since January 19 while Cole Perfetti has finished with at least one point in 13 of the last 14 games. 

Team points leader Cole Coskey took sole possession of 10th all-time among Spirit players in points (155) with his fifth in five games. 

Six of the nine goals recorded by 2017 Florida Panthers first rounder Owen Tippett in his short time with Saginaw have come in the last three games.

Spirit Standouts

Prosvetov made 34 saves after allowing his only goal to Owen Sound with less than a minute left in the third period. Ranked second among league goaltenders in wins at 28, the 2018 Import Draft first rounder has a goals against average (GAA) of 2.98 with a 0.908 save percentage (SAV%) through 41 appearances. 

Busdeker’s first-of-two goals against the Attack came in the sixth minute in the first period. The alternate captain would follow that up with a wrist shot in the slot for Saginaw’s final score with 7:46 remaining in the third. In the last 28 days, the native of Dexter, Michigan, has gone without a point in only three games. 

Perfetti, the 2018 OHL Priority Selection first-round (5th overall) pick, has upped his point streak to eight games which is a season-high for the rookie. 

Coskey needs one more assist to tie former Spirit standout Tyler Murovich for 83 in his career. The veteran winger leads the club in goals (31) and points (63), having notched one point or more in 11 games since January 11. 

Tippett is currently one-of-five Spirit players to pass the 50-points mark through the halfway point of February. With nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points in 17 games with Saginaw, the former 10th overall NHL draft pick is second on the team in goals this season at 28. 

Coming over before the trade deadline from Mississauga with Tippett, 2018 Edmonton Oilers second-round (40th overall) pick Ryan McLeod’s assist total stands at 11 with the Spirit. The 19-year-old is second on the team in that category at 37. 

2018 New York Islanders second-round (41st overall) pick Bode Wilde recorded a plus-minus rating of +4 and one assist in the win over Owen Sound. The Plymouth, Michigan, native is tied for second among OHL defensemen in assists this season at 43. 

Captain Damien Giroux holds the highest plus-minus rating among all Saginaw players this season at +24. The Minnesota Wild prospect finished with a plus-minus rating of +4 and three points on Wednesday against the Flint Firebirds. 

Tristan Lennox won’t turn 17 until October, but in his first season in net after being drafted in the second round in the 2018, Lennox has the lowest goals against average (GAA) among league first-year goaltenders at 2.51. His record stands at 6-1-1-1 through 11 appearances. 

Detroit Red Wings prospect Brady Gilmour accounted for two assists on Saturday for his first multi-point outing of the season since December 1. Gilmour is one goal shy of passing former standout Patrick McNeill (53) on the franchise’s top-20 list. 

On special teams, the Spirit have the league’s fifth-best power play unit on 46 goals for a 24.9 percent success rate this season. The penalty kill is ranked fourth overall with 34 goals allowed for an 81.7 percent success rate.

Oshawa Scouting Report

Despite boasting a record of 25 wins, 18 losses and three overtime losses, the Generals find themselves behind 16 points for the East Division lead. 

With the Ottawa 67’s becoming the first club in the Eastern Conference to clinch a playoff berth, luck and circumstance will be the difference for Oshawa to secure the top seed on that side of the bracket. 

Tonight will be the final of a two-game Michigan road trip for the Generals, who are coming off a 5-4 win against the Firebirds on Friday, which extended their points streak to eight games. 

Four key regular-season roster additions in Brandon Saigeon, Anthony Salinitri, Brett Neumann and Nicolas Mattinen are among the top-six in total points among all Oshawa players. 

Saigeon, a Colorado Avalanche prospect, yields a stat line of 25 goals, 48 assists for 83 points. The latter of which is good for seventh-best in the OHL. Salinitri, drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017, is first on the team with 40 goals and second in points at 75. 

Signed as a free agent with the Boston Bruins in 2017, goaltender Kyle Keyser has compiled a record of 25-7-1-0 through 37 appearances. 

On special teams, Oshawa is ranked sixth in the OHL on the penalty kill this season with 45 goals allowed for a 80.8 percent success rate. The Generals have the fifth-best man-up unit with 61 goals scored for a 25.3 percent success rate.

Featured NHL Prospects

There will be a combined 14 players on the ice Saturday with their rights owned by NHL teams. For the Generals, it’ll be Saigeon (Colorado), Keyser (Boston FA), Serron Noel (Florida), Allan McShane (Montreal), Giovanni Vallati (Winnipeg) and Nico Gross (NY Rangers). 

Defenseman Reilly Webb (Detroit), forward Blade Jenkins (NY Islanders), Gilmour (Detroit), McLeod (Edmonton), Tippett (Florida), Giroux (Minnesota), Prosvetov (Arizona) and Wilde (NY Islanders) will represent Saginaw.

Looking Ahead 

The Spirit begin a five-game road trip Monday when they visit the Sarnia Sting at 2:00 p.m. (EST). 

It’ll be the fifth of a six-game regular-season series between the West Divison rivals and first of two straight at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena. Saginaw won the last two meetings at The Dow on November 29 and December 15. 

Cameron Lamour, the former Spirit draft pick in 2016, has compiled a goals against average (GAA) of 4.62 with a 0.864 save percentage (SAV%) in 14 games with the Sting since being traded last December. 

2017  OHL Import Draft first rounder Hugo Leufvenius leads the team in goals (31) and points (63) this season. 

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