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Preview: Spirit, Firebirds continue Thanksgiving Eve tradition Wednesday

Flint, MI – The Saginaw Spirit (8-6-1-0, 17 points) continue their road swing Wednesday with their third of four straight games away from The Dow Event Center, when they face the Flint Firebirds (7-6-0-1, 15 points) at The Dort Financial Center. The fourth of 12 meetings in the Coors Light I-75 Divide Rivalry series this season is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop. Saginaw has won the previous three meetings this season and has won 10 straight games at the home of the Firebirds.

Saginaw split a road weekend set with the Midwest Division’s Kitchener Rangers and the Owen Sound Attack. Friday, the Spirit erased a four-goal deficit with six straight goals to stun the Rangers, 6-4. Captain Cam Baber scored his first OHL hat trick and added an assist for his first four-point game in his career. Buffalo Sabres prospect Josh Bloom became the first Spirit player to score two shorthanded goals in a single game since Justin Kea against Owen Sound on Jan. 5, 2013. His second shorthanded goal of the game gave Saginaw their first lead at 5-4. Baber capped off the hat trick with an empty net goal late to cement the Spirit victory.

The next night, the Spirit found themselves down by four goals again. Overage forward Dalton Duhart got the Spirit on the board and Bloom scored again to cut the Attack lead to 4-2 going into the third period. Owen Sound would not allow history to repeat itself however, and scored the next two goals to take a 6-2 lead. Josh Bloom would score again on the power play, but the Spirit fell to the Attack, 6-3.

The Firebirds are reeling after back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Spirit’s next opponent, the Windsor Spitfires. On Saturday, the Spits blanked the Firebirds on their home ice, 7-0. Rookie goaltender Ian Michelone made 41 saves despite relenting seven goals. The next night in Windsor, the Firebirds held a 6-2 lead with under four minutes to go in the second period. The Spits would score the next four goals and take the game in a shootout, 7-6.

Head-to-head this season, the Spirit’s top performers against the Firebirds include overage forward from nearby Grand Blanc, Dalton Duhart. Two of his four goals and six of his nine points this season have come in the previous three games against Flint. Cam Baber snapped a nine-game goalless drought when he scored twice, including the game-winning goal when these two teams met back on November 12th in Flint. The Spirit have done a wonderful job holding the Firebirds stars in check this season. New York Rangers first round pick Brennan Othmann has just one assist in three games against Saginaw. Othmann has 19 points (13g-6a) in 11 games against other OHL opponents this season.

This is the 43rd all-time meeting between the Saginaw Spirit and the Flint Firebirds dating back to the 2015-16 season, when the Plymouth Whalers relocated to Flint. The Spirit are 28-9-4-1 overall and are 14-3-3-1 at The Dort Financial Center. Saginaw has won 10 consecutive meetings in Flint and has come out with at least one point in 15 consecutive games at The Dort Financial Center (13-0-1-1). Saginaw’s last regulation loss in Flint was on November 23, 2016.

Fans can catch the TV broadcast of tonight’s game live at Buffalo Wild Wings of Saginaw located at 2690 Tittabawassee Road. Buffalo Wild Wings is the official road game watch party host of the Saginaw Spirit. This and every game this season will also be broadcast live on the home for Spirit Hockey on the radio, 100.5 WSGW-FM and wsgw.com with the voices of Spirit Hockey, Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers.

The Spirit return to The Dow Event Center Saturday, Nov. 27 facing the Windsor Spitfires for ‘Light the Night’ supporting Leukemia and Lymphoma awareness. For tickets, visit www.saginawspirit.com

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