Preview: Spirit put winning streak on the line Saturday in Guelph

GUELPH, ON. – The Saginaw Spirit (12-6-1-1 26 pts.) hit the road to take on the Midwest Division leading Guelph Storm Saturday, November 16 for the first of four regular season meetings.  Puck drop from the Sleeman Centre in Guelph, Ontario begins at 4:00 p.m.

Fans can catch all the action on the flagship WSGW Newsradio 100.5 FM and 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.

The Spirit have won three straight games coming into play with two straight third period comeback victories against the Windsor Spitfires and Thursday’s 4-3 triumph over the Ottawa 67’s at The Dow.

Top 2020 NHL Draft prospect Cole Perfetti provided the game-winner against the 67’s with just 1:42 left in regulation Thursday evening.  The Whitby, Ontario native leads the Saginaw Spirit in assists (26), points (33), and plus/minus rating with a plus-nine this season.

Perfetti is second in assists and sixth in points among Ontario Hockey League (OHL) players this season.

Dexter, Michigan native D.J. Busdeker tied the game with 5:17 remaining in the game on a shorthanded goal.  Three of overager’s four goals this season has come on a man-power disadvantage this year.

2019 Saginaw Spirit first round pick Connor Punnett collected his first career OHL point with an assist on Camaryn Baber’s goal in the first period of Thursday’s game.  The Spirit defenseman Punnett represented Hockey Canada at the 2019 Under-17 Hockey Challenge earlier this month.

Saginaw Spirit captain Damien Giroux had two assists in the victory over the Ottawa 67’s.  The Minnesota Wild prospect leads the OHL with seven powerplay goals this season.

Saturday features two of the top-five short handed units in the OHL so far this season.  The OHL’s third-ranked Saginaw Spirit has killed power plays at an 84% clip and has allowed only 12 goals on the man-power disadvantage this season.  Guelph has killed 80.3% of their man-power disadvantages this season, good for fifth in the OHL.

The Storm is the least penalized team in the league with just 162 total penalty minutes in the 17 games played.

Guelph is coming off a 4-3 overtime victory on Friday night over the Owen Sound Attack for their seventh win in a row.

Moscow, Russia native Pavel Gogolev was given first star honor with a goal and assist in the victory over the Attack.  The Guelph left-winger leads the Storm with 12 goals and 31 points this season in just 17 games played.

Defenseman Daniil Chayka provided the game-winning goal 2:19 into overtime Friday night against the Attack.  The Moscow, Russia native has six goals and eight assists in 17 games this season from the backend.

2018 Montreal Canadiens third round pick Cam Hillis assisted on Chayka’s overtime winner Friday night.  The center leads the Guelph Storm this season with 21 assists in 17 games.

The Storm have two players with rights owned by NHL teams, forward Cam Hillis (Montreal Canadiens) and defenseman Fedor Gordeev (Minnesota Wild).

The Saginaw Spirit have a total of four players on their roster with NHL ties. Blade Jenkins (NY Islanders), Cole Coskey (NY Islanders), Mason Millman (Philadelphia Flyers), and Damien Giroux (Minnesota Wild).

Saginaw has two players listed in the 2020 NHL Central Scouting ‘Players to Watch’ list, including ‘A’ prospect Cole Perfetti. Rookie Ilya Solovyov is listed as a ‘C’ prospect.

Guelph has four players on the updated November rankings. Left wing Andrei Bakanov and Defenseman Luke Profaca are listed as ‘C’ prospects. Goaltenders Owen Bennett and Nico Daws are also listed as ‘C’  Prospects.

The NHL Central Scouting Service uses letter grades to classify their rankings. ‘A’ prospect is classified as a potential first round pick. A ‘B’ prospect is classified as a second or third round candidate. A ‘C’ prospect is classified as a potential fourth, fifth, or sixth round pick.

Saginaw returns home Thursday, November 21 to host the Owen Sound Attack at The Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Michigan.  Puck drop for the first of two regular season meetings begins at 7:05 p.m.

The Spirit will be selling $6 student and military rush tickets for the game against the Attack.

To purchase tickets to any Saginaw Spirit home game call (989) 497-7747, visit, or visit the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw MI.

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