London, ON – Saginaw Spirit rookie Cole Perfetti scored all four goals Saturday in the 4-1 win over the London Knights at the Budweiser Gardens.
In their second win against London this season, the Spirit finished with just 23 shots on goal, but would celebrate Perfetti’s first career hat trick en route to their eighth straight win since February 21.
Saginaw continues to close the gap for first place in the Ontario Hockey League Western Conference standings with four points behind the Knights.
The Spirit have also tied a franchise record for most wins in a single-season at 44 and is seven points away from notching the 100-mark for the first time in team history.
Similar to their last visit in London in January, the Spirit notched the opening goal at 3:41 in the first period from Perfetti, his 32nd of the year which at the time tied with Owen Tippett for first on the team.
Perfetti, who’s finished with at least one point in eight of the last nine games, received the centering pass from Tippett to beat London goaltender Joseph Raaymakers in the one-on-one matchup.
Tippett received credit for the assist for his first since February 27. The former 2017 first-round (10th overall) draft pick by Florida Panthers is second among Spirit players in points and third in assists.
London had a late chance on the power play less than a minute before intermission as the shot attempt by overage forward Kevin Hancock smacked the left post with an empty side.
2018 Arizona Coyotes fourth-round pick Ivan Prosvetov finished with 15 saves after 20 minutes.
Both clubs would trade power plays in the second as Prosvetov continued his shutout through the final intermission.
Prosvetov, the native of Moscow, Russia, allowed a combined six goals in the two previous starts in net against the Knights. His latest loss came on February 16 and has since garnered seven straight wins.
Perfetti and Tippett each earned their second point respectively on the night at 5:32 in the third.
Tippett’s attempt would bounce off the padding of Raaymakers to leave Perfetti alone to hit twine off the backhand. Perfetti, the 2018 OHL Priority Selection fifth overall pick, is first among all league rookies this season in both goals and points.
Perfetti registered the hat trick on the power play with 4:45 left and less than a minute after 19-year-old winger Cole Tymkin put London on the board.
With the Knights enduring their second penalty kill, Saginaw needed 26 seconds from the faceoff for 2018 Edmonton Oilers second-round (40th overall) pick Ryan McLeod to swing the puck cross-ice to Perfetti for his 34th of the year.
McLeod snapped a nine-game stretch without a goal scored on Friday against the Guelph Storm for his first point in four games and first point in the month of March.
With London trailing by two goals, Raaymakers was pulled just after the 17-minute mark, allowing Perfetti to hit the empty netter.
Prosvetov stopped a total of 47 shots for his 34th win through 50 appearances this season. The former CHL Import Draft first-rounder has a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.96 and a 0.909 save percentage (SAV%).
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
- Cole Perfetti (SAG) – 4G, +3
- Ivan Prosvetov (SAG) – 47 SVs
- Matvey Guskov (LDN) – A, +1
The Spirit wrap up their stretch away from The Dow next Tuesday at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena against the Sarnia Sting.
It’ll be the final of a six-game regular-season series between Saginaw and seventh-place OHL Western Conference Sting.
Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (EST).
Listen live on the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk & Sports and fmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers. Pregame coverage starts at 6:50 p.m. (EST).
Fans can visit the Buffalo Wild Wings location at 2690 Tittabawassee Road in Saginaw and join the official “Watch Party” for all Spirit away games. Admission is free of charge.
The last meeting between the West Division rivals ended in a 7-6 shootout loss in Sarnia three weeks ago for the Spirit.
Saginaw has not won on the road against the Sting this season.
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.