Barrie, ON – The Saginaw Spirit took the final meeting of the season against the Barrie Colts, 6-3 to start an Eastern Conference road trip. It is the first victory in Barrie for the Spirit since the 2008-09 season.
Five Spirit players contributed multi-point efforts in the absence of leading scorer Cole Coskey.
Former Colts captain Justin Murray was plus-one in his return to Barrie. The Spirit defenseman was honored prior to puck drop for his time with the Barrie Colts.
Saginaw first round pick Cole Perfetti scored two goals in the game to tie Jan Mursak for the Saginaw single season rookie goal scoring record (27).
Perfetti opened the scoring on a breakaway just 1:16 into the first period. 2017 Florida Panthers 10th overall pick Owen Tippett sprung Perfetti with a beauty outlet pass. Perfetti sped into the Barrie zone and sniped a perfect wrist shot over goaltender Kai Edmonds shoulder.
Arizona Coyotes prospect Ivan Prosvetov kept the Spirit on top with some huge saves in the first period. One of the biggest came just over seven minutes into the opening frame on Victor Hadfield. After the Barrie defenseman intercepted a pass in the Spirit end, Hadfield sent a turnaround shot that the Spirit goaltender stopped with a pad save.
Saginaw took a two-goal lead on a great passing play with just under five minutes remaining in the first frame. D.J. Busdeker and Detroit Red Wings prospects Reilly Webb and Brady Gilmour combined on the goal. Gilmour was set-up with plenty of time in front of the Colts crease and patiently deked Edmonds to slide the puck through the Barrie goaltenders five-hole.
Gilmour contributed his third multi-point effort in the last seven games with a goal and two assists.
The Spirit took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission despite being outshot, 7-6.
Saginaw capitalized on a power play that carried over from the first period to extend the lead to three goals. Edmonton Oilers second round pick Ryan McLeod cleanly won a face-off in the Barrie zone that Gilmour tipped a pass back to New York Islanders signee Bode Wilde. Wilde skated down to the right face-off circle and sent a perfect wrist shot past the Barrie net-minder.
Wilde leads all Ontario Hockey League (OHL) defenseman with nine power play goals this season.
Just over five minutes later, Tippett made it 4-0 with a spectacular goal. McLeod and Gilmour opened space for Tippett in the Barrie slot. The Peterborough, Ontario native pulled his stick and put through his legs and sniped a shot over the goaltender’s blocker.
Barrie got onto the scoreboard just 21 seconds after the Tippett goal. After a Saginaw turnover, forward Tyson Foerster skated into the Spirit end on a breakaway. The rookie center took a wrist shot from the top of the right-circle that beat Prosvetov’s blocker.
The Colts got within two goals just under three minutes later with a shorthanded goal. Overager Ben Hawerchuk sent a perfect pass to Jason Willms in front of the Saginaw net. Willms redirected the pass straight up over Prosvetov’s shoulder for the center’s 15th goal of the season.
Saginaw regained the three-goal lead with just six seconds remaining in the second period. Captain Damien Giroux deflected Wilde’s wrist shot from the point down into the Colts goal.
Giroux, a fifth-round pick of the Minnesota Wild, has points in six of the last seven games.
Perfetti added his second goal of the game on a two-on-one rush with five minutes into the final frame. Tippett sent a perfect saucer pass over the Barrie defender’s stick for the Spirit rookie to one-time past Edmonds to score Saginaw’s sixth goal of the game.
Perfetti, a first-round pick of the Spirit, tied former NHLer Jan Mursak for the Spirit season record for goals as a rookie with his two-goal performance. The standout rookie has points in 10 of the last 11 games.
Barrie’s Hadfield scored his first career OHL goal in the third period to bring the Colts within three goals.
Prosvetov stopped 23 of Barrie’s 26 shots to collect his 30th win of the season.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
- Owen Tippett (SAG) G, 2A +2
- Victor Hadfield (BAR) G
- Justin Murray (SAG) +1
Saginaw continues the Eastern Conference road trip Saturday, February 23 against the defending OHL champion Hamilton Bulldogs. Puck drop for the second and final meeting of the season at 7:00 p.m. Saginaw topped Hamilton, 3-1 at The Dow Event Center back on January 9.
Fans can follow all the action on the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk and Sports and fmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers on the call. “Countdown to Face-off” begins 15 minutes prior to puck drop for all your pregame coverage.
Fans can watch the game live from the Saginaw Spirit “Watch Party” from the 2690 Tittabawassee Road Buffalo Wild Wings location.
The Spirit return to The Dow Saturday, March 2 when they take on the Kingston Frontenacs for Hockey for the Homeless Night presented by Rescue Mission. There will be a Rescue Missionaries presentation in the Budweiser Red Room prior to the game and a post-game jersey auction after the game’s completion.
It is the final meeting of the season between Saginaw and Kingston with puck drop set for 7:05 p.m. The Spirit dominated the first meeting against the Frontenacs, 7-1 on the road.
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.