Photo: Natalie Shaver, OHL Images
Midland, Mich. – The Saginaw Spirit won their first preseason contest of 2022 beating the Soo Greyhounds by a 9-3 score in front of 535 fans at Midland Civic Arena in Midland, Michigan.
The Spirit struck first at 4:03 in the first with a goal from 2022 second round pick Bode Stewart. Saginaw native Michael Smith skated the puck from the right side of the ice and passed the puck to teammate Roberto Mancini who tipped the puck towards the open ice for the Spirit winger. Stewart snapped the puck past Soo goaltender Samuel Ivanov to give the Spirit an early advantage.
Saginaw would score a shorthanded goal courtesy of Zayne Parekh at 9:05. David Brown scored his first of four points on the game when he took the puck from a Greyhound skater and pushed into the zone where he passed to Joey Willis. Willis found Parekh as the trailer and his shot caromed in off a Soo defender.
The Greyhounds would answer back at 12:15 in the first with a power play goal from Brodie McConnell-Barker. Andrew Gibson skated the puck into the zone where he gave the puck to Jordan D’Intino who passed the puck from the left side to the center of the offensive zone. McConnell-Barker would shoot the puck between the pads of Oke as he was preoccupied with a Soo forward that was in the blue paint. The goal would count for the Soo to make it 2-1 in favor of Saginaw.
Saginaw would score on the power play at 14:10 in the first. Dean Loukus was the beneficiary of some expert passing on the power play, specifically from Vegas Golden Knights prospect Matyas Sapovaliv and rookie phenom Michael Misa.
Just 21 seconds into the second period came Saginaw’s next goal from 2023 NHL Draft eligible Luke McNamara. A turnover took place in the Soo end that allowed Robert Mancini to skate the puck up the ice to David Brown who gave McNamara the chance he needed to score his team-leading third goal of the preseason.
The Spirit would add to their lead with a goal from PJ Forgione. The goal, which came at 5:12, came off of a pass from Brown for his third assist on the night. Zayne Parekh skated the puck into the zone for his second assist in the game.
Saginaw would put in their sixth goal at 9:30 in the second. Dean Loukus would get his second goal of the night and put the puck top shelf on Greyhound goalie Ivanov. Loukus received the puck from Matyas Sapovaliv. Michael Misa would start the play by skating into the zone and getting the puck to Sapovaliv.
Spirit goalie Andrew Oke would play the entire game, making 17 saves on 20 shots. The Soo would start Samuel Ivanov, making 13 saves on 19 shots. Landon Miller would take over just after the 10-minute mark in the second, making 10 saves on 13 shots.
With 1:05 gone in the third, the Soo score their second goal from Harrison Ballard. Connor Clattenburg passed the puck to Ballard, and two Spirit skaters collided in front of Andrew Oke to aid the Soo in their goal.
The Spirit would answer back with a goal at 3:19 in the third. Josh Glavin would receive a pass from Brayden Hislop from behind the net for a one timer goal. Hislop was fed the puck from Matyas Sapovaliv from the side of the net.
Saginaw would score again at 9:26 in the third from the 2022 Under-18 first overall pick Lincoln Moore for his second goal of the preseason. T-Bone Codd would pass the puck to Mitchell Smith who set up Moore at the blue line for a long shot into the net.
The Spirit would score their final goal of the night with a goal from David Brown. Brown would put the puck into the net after Miller dove to stop a one-time attempt set up from Codd and shot from McNamra. Brown would see the opportunity to score after the dive.
The Greyhounds scored their third goal of the game as time wound down in the third period. Alex Kostov scored his second goal of the preseason.
The Spirit would claim victory with a 9-3 win. This is the first victory for the Spirit in the preseason.
Saginaw and the Soo will have a exhibition rematch Saturday, September 10 when they face the Hounds at GFL Memorial Gardens at 7:07 p.m.
The Spirit’s next preseason home game is against the Firebirds at the Dow Event Center September 23rd. Puck drops at 7:05 p.m. and tickets are available at Dow Event Center Box Office, the Spirit Store, or online through Ticketmaster.