Saginaw, Michigan – The Saginaw Spirit (16-11-1-2 35pts.) host their West Division rival Windsor Spitfires (14-14-2-1 31pts.) to start a two-game weekend home stand. This will be the fourth meeting of the season for the heated foes. The puck drop will be 7:05 p.m. as the Spirit look to defeat the Spitfires for the first time this season.
The Saginaw Spirit have won their last two games on the road, 5-3 against the Erie Otters and Mississauga Steelheads.
2019 NHL Draft prospect Nicholas Porco has tallied a goal in each of the last two games for the Spirit. The left-winger comes into the game tied for third on the team with 12 goals on the season. Porco has been strong against the Spitfires this season with a goal and three points in three games.
Saginaw Spirit will be without points leader Cole Coskey. The Zion, Illinois native was recently named to the preliminary roster for the 2019 U.S. National Junior Team. Coskey was sent to Everett, Washington to audition for chance to represent Team USA in the IIHF World Junior Championship.
With the absence of Coskey, the Spirit will look to Jackson, Michigan native Blade Jenkins to lead the offensive attack. Jenkins is second on the Spirit with 28 points and currently on a four-game goal streak. The New York Islanders prospect has four goals and eight points during the steak with a plus/minus of plus-two.
Saginaw Spirit 2018 first round pick Cole Perfetti has made a very strong contribution in his first OHL season. The rookie is second among Spirit players with 13 goals this season. Perfetti is fourth among all OHL rookies with 23 points and tied for second with Ottawa’s Marco Rossi with 13 goals.
Friday evening’s matchup will feature two of the least penalized teams in the league. Saginaw has only been a man down for the least amount of time in the OHL, just 241 minutes this season. Windsor comes in fourth in the league, with 293 minutes of penalty time.
Special teams may be a factor as the red-hot Spirit power play takes on the Spitfires second best penalty kill in the OHL. In Saginaw’s last three games, the Spirit have scored six goals in their last nine man-power advantages. The scoring stretch has raised Saginaw’s power play to 23.8% good for sixth-best in the league.
Windsor’s 2018 Import first round pick Kari Piiroinen has taken over as starting goaltender for the Spitfires, since the departure of top goaltender Michael DiPietro to Ottawa. Piiroinen comes into the game with a 3-6-2-0 record with a 3.74 goals against average and a .892 save percentage.
Dallas Stars prospect Curtis Douglas leads the Spitfires with 14 goals this season and is currently third on the teams with 21 points. Douglas has been strong against the Spirit this season scoring four goals in three games, including a hat-trick in the game on November 11.
Windsor has two players with rights owned by NHL squads, forward Curtis Douglas (Dallas Stars) and defenseman Connor Corcoran (Vegas Golden Knights).
Saginaw had six players drafted by NHL teams, forwards Brady Gilmour (Detroit Red Wings), Blade Jenkins (New York Islanders), Damien Giroux (Minnesota Wild), defensemen Bode Wilde (New York Islanders), Reilly Webb (Detroit Red Wings), and goaltender Ivan Prosvetov (Arizona Coyotes).
The Spirit continue the home stand Saturday, December 15, against the West Division rival Sarnia Sting for Teddy Bear Toss Night presented by the Jayden Lamb Memorial Foundation. After the first Spirit goal of the game, fans are welcomed the throw their stuffed animals onto the ice to be donated. Saginaw defeated Sarnia, 2-1 in their last meeting after dropping the first two earlier in the season.
Fans are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the game Saturday for a chance to win a brand new washer and dryer from The Maytag Store.
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.