Friday, December 14, 2018
Saginaw, MI – Three players finished with three points in Friday’s 6-2 win at The Dow Event Center, as the Saginaw Spirit ended a six-game winless streak which dated back to last season, to their OHL West Division rival Windsor Spitfires.
Enjoying a three-game winning streak that began on December 8 in the second of three consecutive road games, the Spirit are eight points shy of the division lead and have jumped ahead to fourth place in the Western Conference standings at 35 points.
After missing the last seven games due to injury, 17-year-old defenseman Duncan Penman made his return to the lineup for Saginaw, having been out of action since November 22 with a lower body issue.
Drafted in the second round and 25th overall in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, Penman recorded two assists in 23 games played prior to the setback this season. Penman was penciled in the starting lineup alongside 2018 New York Islanders second-round draft pick Bode Wilde.
Saginaw also saw a new face in net for the Spitfires in third-year veteran goaltender Colton Incze, who came over from the Niagara IceDogs via trade on December 5. Incze had three appearances with Windsor entering Friday following the departure of Michael DiPietro to the Ottawa 67’s.
The last time Incze and the Spirit met was December 3 of last season, as the 19-year-old allowed two goals in the 3-1 loss at The Dow. Before being shipped off, Incze compiled two wins on four starts for the IceDogs.
A backdoor pass from Windsor defenseman Louka Henault to the front of the net for the 2018 OHL third overall pick, Will Cuylle, made way for Cuylle’s ninth goal of the season and opening score at 10:15 in the first period.
Cuylle is ranked fourth in points (16) among all Spitfires players after being acquired from the Peterborough Petes in early September in exchange for seven draft picks. The assist for Henault was the 17-year-old’s first in five games and seventh total.
The Spirit ended the first period scoring back-to-back goals in a span of 34 seconds.
Taking advantage of a mishandled save within the crease by Incze, Saginaw captain Damien Giroux grabbed his first-of-two goals with 3:02 remaining. Giroux polished off last weekend’s road trip with one goal and an assist, sitting sixth overall on the team in points (25) and 10th in assists (11).
Finishing as one-of-three Spirit players with multi-point performances in last Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Mississauga Steelheads, rookie Cole Perfetti notched the go-ahead lead before the intermission at 17:32. Drafted fifth overall in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, Perfetti is second among OHL rookies in goals (14) and fourth in points (25).
Along with D.J. Busdeker, New Yew Islanders prospect Blade Jenkins was credited with the assist off his short cross-ice pass. The native of Jackson, Michigan, Jenkins is tied for the third most assists (19) by a Saginaw forward this season and is one-of-two players to surpass the 30-point mark.
Shots on goal after 20 minutes favored the Spirit, 19-9.
Already in double-digits in goals before Friday and one-of-three players for Windsor to do so, third-year forward Cole Purboo tied the game at two goals apiece 3:36 into the second frame.
Just one behind 2018 Dallas Stars prospect Curtis Douglas for the team lead in goals, Purboo seized the puck in-between the legs of Spirit goaltender Ivan Prosvetov, en route to the open-netter goal for Purboo’s 13th of the season.
Coming off his 31-save performance on Sunday against the Steelheads, Prosvetov would stop 36 shots for his 13th win since being drafted by Saginaw in the first round of the 2018 OHL Import Draft, improving his goals against average (GAA) and save percentage (SAV%) to 3.42 and .892, respectively.
Overage forward Albert Michnac would pick up his second multi-assist outing in three games on Wilde’s seventh goal of the season at 4:01, firing the wrist shot from the blue line into traffic, for the second lead change by the Spirit.
Michnac has garnered six assists in four games, including two against the Erie Otters last Saturday, and is third for Saginaw in points (29). Wilde, who agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract with the Islanders on December 3, currently ranks in the top-10 in points (28) and assists (21) among OHL defensemen.
Despite averaging 8.1 penalty minutes for a league-best, Saginaw went on the penalty kill five times before the final intermission, including four in the second period alone. The Spirit received just one man-up opportunity against Windsor after scoring six power play goals in the last four games.
Saginaw registered the insurance goal at 7:09 in the third period, as Jenkins recorded his 12th goal off the breakaway for the 4-2 lead. Wilde would earn the secondary assist for his 11th game with two or more points this season since November 29.
Jenkins also added his second assist of the game in the Spirit’s third unanswered with 6:07 remaining. Busdeker, a native of Dexter, Michigan, has totaled two goals following his return from a two-game suspension this past month for 19 points, while his three points are the most carved out in a single-game all season.
Giroux capped off the night with the unassisted goal to the bottom left corner of the net at 17:18. The Minnesota Wild is one shy of veteran Cole Coskey (15) for the team lead in goals scored.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
1. Damien Giroux (SAG) – 2G, A, +3
2. Blade Jenkins (SAG) – G, 2A, +3
3. D.J. Busdeker (SAG) – G, 2A, +3
The Spirit will host their second OHL West Division rival in back-to-back days on Saturday, December 15, for the annual “Teddy Bear Toss” game, presented by the Jayden Lamb Memorial Foundation.
With the Sarnia Sting visiting The Dow at 7:05 p.m., fans are encouraged to bring stuffed toys to launch onto the ice after Saginaw scores its first goal of the game. All plush toys will be collected and donated to families and children affected by pediatric cancer.
Courtesy of The Maytag Store, fans who donate new and unwrapped toys prior to puck drop will be entered to win a brand new washer and dryer, with the drawing occurring at the third period.
Listen live on the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk & Sports and fmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:50 p.m.
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.