Spirit conclude perfect preseason with 4-3 win over Firebirds
Saginaw, Michigan – Two consecutive goals scored in the third period by defenseman Hayden Davis and left winger Albert Michnac Saturday made way for the Saginaw Spirit’s fifth straight win this preseason, capping off a two-week stretch which began on Labor Day Weekend.
Coming off last night’s exhibition game where Saginaw scored four unanswered in the final frame on the road against the Flint Firebirds, the former returned even stronger with another comeback win, 4-3, from the Dow Event Center.
The final of two mid-September matches between the two in-state rivals before Wednesday’s home opener, the Spirit ended the first period unable to take advantage of three power play opportunities.
Despite trailing in shots on goal with seven before the second, Flint got the wheels running first by an Evan Vierling wrist shot at the 15:52 mark. Vierling was drafted No. 2 overall in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection.
Kyle Harris added the insurance goal with a little over three minutes remaining, pushing the puck in-between Saginaw goalie Cameron Lamour and the post.
Lamour, who finished Friday allowing zero goals in the win, entered the game leading the entire OHL in goaltending statistics, including a save percentage of .974.
Saginaw was awarded its fourth man-up situation 3:27 into the second period after right winger D.J. Busdeker got the Spirit within a goal two minutes earlier.
The Dexter, Michigan, native’s shot to the top left corner of the net was his fourth goal and fifth point of the preseason. Defenseman Duncan Penman was credited with the lone assist.
Lamour was replaced in net by Tristan Lennox midway after the 10-minute mark after recording seven saves off nine shots faced.
Lennox, drafted No. 26 overall in this year’s Priority Selection, has played in two games prior to Saturday. The 15-year-old’s outing ended with 11 stopped shots.
The change in goaltenders came shortly following defenseman Mason Millman’s game tying goal for Saginaw with 11:22 left. Millman, who leads all Spirit players in plus-minus at +9, ends the five-game series with two goals and an assist.
Lennox’s third shot faced would be the go-ahead goal for Flint heading into the third frame by Riley McCourt. The Firebirds’ defenseman recorded the opening goal last night inside the Flint Iceland Arenas.
Saginaw finished with the same amount of shots on goal (10) in the second as it did in the first. Flint had 12 total shots before the third period.
The Firebirds went to their backup goalie, Evan Morrison, to begin the final 20 minutes. But just 43 seconds following the opening face-off, Saginaw’s consistent offensive pressure tied the score again at three from a shot that deflected off Davis.
Davis and right winger Ryan Stepien were awarded with an assist earlier from the Millman goal.
Michnac, coming away with the game-winning goal with just over four minutes left to play, collects his second in two straight games to finish the preseason with four points. Saginaw won the face-off battle, 37-19, and outshot the Firebirds, 35-21.
Applebee’s 3 Stars of the Game:
1. Albert Michnac – (SAG) GWG, +1
2. Hayden Davis – (SAG) G, A +2
3. Riley McCourt – (FLNT) G, A
The Spirit open the regular-season this Wednesday, September 19, at home against the 2018 OHL runner-up Soo Greyhounds. Puck drops at 7:05 p.m. For tickets, call (989) 497-7747 or visit saginawspirit.com