Saginaw, MI – The Saginaw Spirit snapped a two-game skid with a five-goal third period for a 6-3 victory over the London Knights in front of 3,401 fans at The Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Michigan.
New York Islanders draft pick Cole Coskey tallied a goal and two assists in his 250th career game as a Saginaw Spirit. Only eight other players in Saginaw Spirit history have ever reached the 150-game plateau.
Center Camaryn Baber nearly put the Spirit ahead just after the opening face-off. Baber stole the puck from a London Knights defender and took a shot point-blank from the slot that London goaltender Brett Brochu denied.
Saginaw alternate captain D.J. Busdeker had a great scoring opportunity on a two-on-one rush that was stopped by the London rookie net-minder. Minnesota Wild prospect Damien Giroux sent a saucer pass over for a Busdeker one-timer but Brochu slid over and deflected the puck away with a blocker save.
Spirit goaltender Tristan Lennox kept the game even after a London odd man rush with five minutes left in the period. Lennox was able to reach a pad out to deny Ottawa Senators prospect Jonathan Gruden and another pad save on Luke Evangelista’s rebound attempt.
The first penalty of the game went to Saginaw after defenseman D.J. King was called for holding with just over a minute remaining in the period.
The London Knights capitalized on the man-power advantage to open the scoring with just 57 second left in the first period.
San Jose Sharks signee Ryan Merkley sent a pass to Detroit Red Wings prospect Alec Regula in the Spirit slot. Regula roofed a wrist shot through traffic top-shelf for his third goal of the season.
The Knights took a one-goal lead into the first intermission and outshot the Spirit, 11-8 after the first 20 minutes of play.
Lennox was forced to make several huge saves early in the second period with forward Danny Katic in the penalty box for a tripping minor.
The Ontario Hockey League’s top-ranked power play put seven shots on the 16-year old goaltender during the two-minute man-power advantage but Lennox stopped each shot.
London made it a two-goal advantage 9:01 into the second period with overager Cole Tymkin’s second goal of the season. The London right-winger got behind the Saginaw defense and lifted a backhand shot over Lennox’s out-stretched pad for the 2-0 London lead.
Jackson, Michigan native Blade Jenkins nearly put the Spirit on the board during Saginaw’s first man-power advantage of the game.
2020 NHL Draft top-prospect Cole Perfetti rolled a pass to the New York Islanders draft pick Jenkins for a shot near the top of the crease that Brochu fought off with a blocker save.
Perfetti was able to cut into the London Knights lead on the power play with his second goal of the season. The Saginaw right-winger received a pass from Spirit leading scorer Ilya Solovyov at the right face-off dot and Perfetti sniped a wrist shot top corner for the goal.
Spirit captain Damien Giroux found twine for the eighth time this season to tie the game 4:51 into the third period. Coskey sent a pass to the left of the London net and Giroux redirected the puck into the net for the goal.
With assists on both goals, Coskey passed Spirit alums TJ Brodie and Garret Ross for 11th all-time (89).
Saginaw took the lead for the first time in the game 9:19 into the third period with New York Islanders draft pick Blade Jenkins third goal of the season. Jenkins fought off big London defender Bryce Montgomery and ripped a wrist shot past Brochu’s glove for the 3-2 lead.
Jake Goldowski gave the Spirit a two-goal lead in a scramble in front of the London net. As several players vied for the puck at the top of the crease, Goldowski was able to reach his stick in and push the puck through Brochu’s five-hole for his second goal of the season.
While the teams skated four-on-four, London cut into the Spirit two-goal lead with Regula’s second goal of the game in an empty net situation for London. The Knights defenseman located a loose puck in the slot and took a wrist shot that beat Lennox top-shelf.
Coskey received his third point of the game with an empty-net tally with 2:36 remaining in the game.
With Tymkin in the box for an interference penalty, Giroux scored his second of the game on the power play with just three seconds remaining in regulation. Giroux was able to deflect the puck into the net off a nice backdoor pass from Jenkins to complete Saginaw’s 6-3 victory.
The Spirit snapped their third period woes and outscored the Knights, 5-1 in the final frame. Coming into the game Saginaw had a third period goal differential of minus-eight.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
- Cole Coskey (SAG) G, 2A +1
- Tristan Lennox (SAG) W, 38 saves
- Cole Perfetti (SAG) G, 2A +2
The Spirit travel to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to take on the West Division rival Soo Greyhounds, Wednesday, October 16 at 7:07 p.m. from the GFL Memorial Gardens. It is the second meeting of the season after Saginaw dropped the first game, 6-4 at home back on September 28.
Fans can catch all the action on the flagship WSGW Newsradio 100.5 FM and www.fmtalk1005.com with the voice of Saginaw Spirit hockey Joey Battaino on the call. “Countdown to Face-off” begins 15 minutes prior to puck drop.
Fans can visit the Buffalo Wild Wings location at 2690 Tittabawassee Road in Saginaw and join the official “Watch Party” for all Spirit away games. Admission is free of charge.
Saginaw returns home to The Dow Event Center Friday, October 18 to host the North Bay Battalion for the first of two meetings this season at 7:05 p.m. The Spirit defeated the Battalion in both games last season, including a 6-2 victory on home ice last October.
To purchase tickets to any Saginaw Spirit home game call (989) 497-7747, visit www.saginawspirit.com, or visit the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw MI.