FLINT, MI. – On Wednesday night, the Saginaw Spirit began their holiday week with the first of three games in four nights, beginning with the front end of a home-and-home series with the Flint Firebirds. Wednesday night’s battle took place at The Dort Federal Event Center, home of the Firebirds. The pressure was on as the Spirit and Firebirds, who battle each season for the Coors Light I-75 Divide Cup. Saginaw is currently fourth place in the Division and could move one game above the .500 mark with a win, while the Flint Firebirds were looking for just their second win in the last 13 games.
The first period started off with Spirit dominance on the puck. The line of Nicholas Porco, Aidan Prueter, and Ryan Stepien had strong back-to-back shifts wearing down the Flint defense and getting great looks at the Firebird net. The rivalry was made clear when the first period took form in a fast pace and high-energy manner. Energy levels rose and so did tensions throughout the first period. On a Spirit power play, Flint winger Hunter Holmes blocked a shot and went on a shorthanded breakaway that was shut down by Spirit goaltender Evan Cormier. Blade Jenkins got Saginaw on the score board after being set up by Damien Giroux after Duncan Penman pinched in at the blue line to keep the play in the zone. Despite the fact that the Spirit outshot the Firebirds 17-6, the Spirit held only a 1-0 lead at the conclusion of the period.
The second period continued with the intensity that was brought in the first. Saginaw started the second period with a one-man advantage and was able to successful keep the puck in the opposing zone, but unable to score. Cormier stood strong and blocked back-to-back shorts fired by Flint. Hits were given out graciously and each team saw their fair share of the penalty box. Matching penalties were given to Nicholas Caamano and Hayden Davis for Roughing at 10:05. Damien Giroux scored making the score 2-0 with a great individual effort that saw him walk around three Firebirds players and deposit the puck in the top of the net. There may have been one goal in the second period, but there was plenty of action. Saginaw continued their streak and outshot Flint 23-16 in the second period.
Saginaw started the third just like the second, on a power play. The Spirit kept control of the puck throughout the power play but was unable to capitalize on another goal. A Flint power play gave them their first goal of the game courtesy of Dallas Stars prospect Nick Caamano. Minutes later, Saginaw answered back with a goal from Jenkins, his second of the game and 10th of the season. The Spirit didn’t stop there. A goal from Daniil Vertiy made the score 4-1 for his first since joining the Spirit. Max Grondin and Marcus Crawford assisted on the goal. That assist gave Crawford his 100th in a Spirit uniform. The Ajax, Ontario native is only the second Defenseman to record 100 points in team history. The final tally for the game was 4-1 and Saginaw started their holiday week with a win before Thanksgiving.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the game:
- Blade Jenkins (SAG) – 2G, 1A, +3
- Evan Cormier (SAG) – 27 Saves
- Damien Giroux (SAG) – 1G, 1A, +3
The Saginaw Spirit (10-9-3-0, 21 points, 4th West Division) will take on the Flint Firebirds (7-14-2-0, 16 points, 5th West Division) at The Dow Event Center Nov.24th.The puck drops at 7:05 p.m.
Buy one, get one free Upper Level tickets are available now for Fri. Nov. 24’s game vs. Flint Firebirds. For more information, call (989) 497-7747 or visit the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street in Saginaw.
Photo Credit: Danen Williams
Season Tickets for the 2017-18 season are on sale NOW! Reserve your seat at The Dow Event Center by calling (989) 497-7747 or visit www.saginawspirit.com for more information. YOUR Region. YOUR team. YOU’RE invited.
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