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Game 7 Preview: Spirit welcome back veteran Murray to lineup in deciding game of series

Saginaw, MI – The seventh and deciding Western Conference Championship series game is tonight, Monday, April 29, when the Saginaw Spirit host the Guelph Storm at The Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Michigan.  Puck drop for Game Seven is set for 7:05 p.m.

Tonight marks the first playoff Game seven in Spirit team history.

The best-of-seven series is tied, 3-3 after the Storm staved off elimination for the sixth time in the 2019 OHL Playoffs. The victorious team in Game seven will take on the Eastern Conference Champion Ottawa 67’s in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Championship Series.

Tickets for Game Seven are on sale via saginawspirit.com, ticketmaster.com, at the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, and at The Dow Event Center Box Office.

Watch live on OHLLive.com or listen live on the flagship 100.5 Newsradio WSGW and fmtalk1005.com with the voice of the Saginaw Spirit Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers on the call.  “Countdown to Faceoff” with host Domenic Papa starts 15 minutes prior to puck drop.

Game Seven will mark the return of overage defenseman Justin Murray to the lineup.  Murray has served a four-game suspension after a check on Guelph’s MacKenzie Entwistle in Game Two of the series.

Saginaw Spirit second round pick Tristan Lennox has filled in for the suspended Arizona Coyotes prospect Ivan Prosvetov in the last four postseason games.  The 2021 top NHL goaltending prospect was honored with the third-star in two of the four games.

The 16-year old net-minder has averaged 34 saves in the last four games of the Western Conference Championship Series.

Thornhurst, Pennsylvania native Jake Goldowski tallied Saginaw’s lone goal in Sunday’s game.  The goal was the 2016 Saginaw Spirit fourth round pick’s third of the postseason, but first point in this series.

2017 Florida Panthers 10th overall pick Owen Tippett is second among OHL players with 22 points this postseason.  The Spirit are 9-1-0-0 in this year’s playoffs when the right-winger registers a point in a game.

Saginaw was o-for-4 on the power play in Game six.  The Spirit has mustered just two power play goals in 14 opportunities against the Storm.

Rookie Cole Perfetti was the last Saginaw Spirit player to convert on the man-power advantage in the second period of Game Four.  The Saginaw 2018 first round pick leads all Spirit players with eight points in the Western Conference Championship Series.

Conversely, the Storm has at least one power play marker in all six contests against the Spirit this postseason.  Guelph has a power play percentage of 41% with seven goals in just 17 man-power advantages this series.

Guelph goaltender Anthony Popovich shut the Spirit out in five-plus periods of hockey, until Goldowski’s late third period tally in Game Six.  The Belleville, Ontario native has allowed just one goal in his last two games played.

The postseason’s top-scorer Nick Suzuki and Los Angeles Kings prospect Sean Durzi both extended their point streaks to 11 games in Sunday’s victory.

Suzuki, a Montreal Canadiens signee, roofed a spin-around backhand in Game Six to extend the streak.  The London, Ontario native leads the OHL in goals (12), assists (18), and points (30) this postseason.

Mississauga, Ontario native Durzi is first among remaining OHL defensemen with 16 assists this postseason.  Sunday’s contest was the first time the Guelph blue-liner failed to register an assist in the Western Conference Finals.

Edmonton Oilers defensive prospect Dmitri Samorukov collected two assists in the 5-1 Guelph victory in Game Six.  The Storm defenseman is riding a four-game point streak and has points in six of his last seven games.

Guelph has 11 players with rights owned by NHL teams, forwards Cam Hillis (Montreal Canadiens), Nick Suzuki (Montreal Canadiens-signed), MacKenzie Entwistle (Chicago Blackhawks-signed), Alexey Toropchenko (St. Louis Blues-signed), Liam Hawel (Dallas Stars), Nate Schnarr (Arizona Coyotes-signed), Isaac Ratcliffe (Philadelphia Flyers-signed), defensemen Dmitri Samorukov (Edmonton Oilers-signed), Sean Durzi (Los Angeles Kings), Markus Phillips (Los Angeles Kings), and Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs.)

The Spirit also boasts eight players drafted by NHL clubs, forwards Brady Gilmour (Detroit Red Wings), Blade Jenkins (New York Islanders), Owen Tippett (Florida Panthers-signed), Ryan McLeod (Edmonton Oilers), Damien Giroux (Minnesota Wild), defensemen Reilly Webb (Detroit Red Wings), Bode Wilde (New York Islanders-signed), and goaltender Ivan Prosvetov (Arizona Coyotes).

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