SAGINAW, MI. – The Western Conference-leading Saginaw Spirit extended their win-streak to four games with a 5-3 victory over the Kitchener Rangers in front of 3,042 fans at The Dow Event Center Saturday evening.
The Spirit dominated the special teams battle and went three-for-five on the man-power advantage. Saginaw stymied the Kitchener power play chances and killed all three of the Rangers power play advantage.
Kitchener opened the scoring 6:09 into the first period by 2020 NHL Draft prospect Reid Valade’s third goal of the season. The right-winger skated down the right side on a two-on-one rush and took a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that just beat Saginaw goaltender Tristan Lennox above his right pad.
With Spirit center Camaryn Baber in the penalty box for a hooking penalty, Lennox and the OHL’s second ranked shorthanded unit kept Saginaw within a goal. Former Saginaw Spirit forward Ryan Stepien fired a low wrist shot from the right circle that the 16-year old net-minder denied with a right pad save.
After Kitchener’s Francesco Pinelli was called for hooking, Saginaw capitalized on the man-power advantage to tie the game.
2020 NHL Draft top-prospect Cole Perfetti sent a nice backdoor pass for New York Islanders draft choice Cole Coskey to one-time into the Kitchener net for his 10th goal of the season.
With the goal, the Zion, Illinois native Coskey tied Spirit alums Garrett Ross and Jordan Szwarz for eighth all-time in Saginaw Spirit history with 82 goals.
The Rangers regained the lead with just 1:08 left in the first period with defenseman Ville Ottavainen’s third goal of the season. The Finnish defenseman sent a shot from the right point through traffic that hit both posts before the puck went into the Spirit net.
Saginaw was outshot by Kitchener, 18-8 after the first 20 minutes of play and trailed, 2-1.
With Valade in the penalty box on a high-sticking minor, the Spirit capitalized on their second-straight power play opportunity 5:02 into the second period.
Minnesota Wild draft choice Damien Giroux found Perfetti to the right of the goal crease, where the Whitby, Ontario native sniped a sharp angle shot over Pfeil’s right shoulder for his fourth goal of the season.
Saginaw made it three-for-three on the man-power advantage 13:28 into the middle frame with Perfetti’s second powerplay goal of the game.
2019 Saginaw Spirit Import Draft first round pick Ilya Solovyov faked a one-timer and slid a pass to Perfetti at the right circle. The Saginaw forward hammered a one-timer that beat the Kitchener goaltender for the goal.
Kitchener tied the game at 3-3 just 36 seconds later on Mike Petizian’s third goal of the season. Lennox made a nice initial sliding save on Petizian but the Kitchener right-winger poked the loose puck in the crease for the goal.
Saginaw regained the lead with just under three minutes left in the second period on Philadelphia Flyers prospect Mason Millman’s third goal of the season. Spirit center Baber dug the puck out of a scrum along the boards and found Millman at the top of the left circle. The Saginaw defenseman took a wrist shot through traffic that beat Pfeil to put the Spirit on top, 4-3 going into the second intermission.
The Spirit dominated in the second period and outshot the Rangers, 15-3 in the middle frame.
Saginaw padded their lead with captain Giroux’s team-leading 12th goal of the season. Perfetti sent a perfect pass for Giroux to one-time in the slot for the 5-3 Spirit victory.
Perfetti collected his second straight four-point game and fourth-straight multi-point outing with the assist.
Coskey tallied his third assist on the night with the secondary assist on the Giroux goal. Coskey passed Saginaw Spirit alum Jordan Skellett for 10th all-time in assists.
The Perfetti, Giroux, and Coskey line combined for four goals and seven assist for 11 points in the victory.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
- Cole Perfetti (SAG) 2G, 2A
- Cole Coskey (SAG) G, 3A
- Damien Giroux (SAG) G, 2A
The Spirit hit the road to take on the London Knights Friday, October 25 for the second of four meetings between the two teams. Puck Drop from the Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario is at 7:30 p.m. Saginaw took the first meeting after a five-goal third period for a 6-3 victory over London back on October 12.
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’s next home game will feature two of the top-prospects for the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft when Cole Perfetti and the Spirit take on Quinton Byfield and the Sudbury Wolves Saturday, October 26 at The Dow Event Center. Puck drop for the first of two meetings this season begins at 7:05 p.m.
The game marks the return of the 13th annual Pink Out Game at The Dow presented by Ascension St. Mary’s where the first 2,000 fans will receive a complimentary Pink Clapper. Fans are invited to remain after the game to partake in the post-game jersey auction with the proceeds will go to the St. Mary’s Breast Cancer Fund, helping to provide mammograms and ultrasounds for qualified under-insured or uninsured patients.
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.