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Spirit gain ground in West Division with victory over Greyhounds

Friday, December 28, 2018

 

Sault Ste. Marie, ON – The Saginaw Spirit got the second half of the season off on the right foot Friday night in Sault Ste. Marie.

 

Coming off an 11-day hiatus in which their five-game point streak was on the line, everything came together like it did before the holiday break as the Spirit jump to fourth place in the OHL Western Conference standings after a 4-2 win over the Greyhounds.

 

Taking the fifth of an eight-game series and first from the GFL Memorial Gardens against the West Division leader, Saginaw secures its eighth win this season under head coach Chris Lazary

 

The Spirit have outscored opponents, 50-37, since Lazary took over on November 18, handing the Greyhounds their third regulation loss at home this season.

 

Saginaw welcomed back a full lineup prior to puck drop as Cole CoskeyBrady GilmourCamaryn BaberHayden Davis and Reagan O’Grady all returned for the season’s second half opener. 

 

Coskey was among 29 players auditioning for a roster spot earlier this month in the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation Work Junior Championship in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. 

 

Gilmour, Davis and O’Grady were away getting back to full health after missing a combined 16 games due to upper and lower body setbacks.

 

Sault Ste. Marie was without two NHL draft picks on Friday in 2017 Philadelphia Flyers first rounder Morgan Frost and 2018 Arizona Coyotes first rounder Barrett Hayton. 

 

Frost currently ranks first in the league in assists (38) and third in points (58) among all OHL players this season while Hayton has recorded double-digit goals (15) and assists (18) through 20 games played. 

 

Second-year defenseman Duncan Penman had a busy first period of action, which included an issued minor penalty in the opening three minutes, as well as scoring his first goal of the season. 

 

Assisted by forward Albert Michnac and 17-year-old forward Aidan Prueter, Penman’s wrist shot from the top of the left circle was the former 2017 second round pick’s first goal since December 15 of last year. 

 

Michnac ended the first half of the regular-season on a six-game points streak, closing the gap from when he finished with at least one point in 13 straight games during the months of September and October. 

 

With 3:26 before the first intermission, Sault Ste. Marie got on the board for the 1-1 tie. 

 

Batting the puck past a sprawled Arizona Coyotes goaltending prospect Ivan Prosvetov, second-year forward Joe Carroll notched his fifth goal of the season. Prosvetov stopped 12 shots as both clubs were called for two penalties each after 20 minutes. 

 

The last multi-point outing by Penman came on December 2, 2017, who attained that feat again after being credited on the secondary assist off Prueter’s sixth goal of the season. 

 

Scoring on the breakaway for the 2-2 ties at 7:15 in the second period, Prueter has now collected six points in the last three games, including a goal and assist on December 15 in the 7-3 home win over the Sarnia Sting. 

 

Through 27 games played, Penman has assisted on four goals for five points and a plus-minus rating of +5. Third-year forward Danny Katic would also log his fourth assist this season and third point in three consecutive games on the Prueter goal.

 

The momentum swing came 1:03 following the Greyhounds’ second unanswered goal for their only lead of the night. Winning the battle in front of the net was 2017 fifth rounder Cole MacKay for his 12th goal this year. 

 

MacKay, the local hometown native of Sault Ste. Marie, is one-of-six Soo players to surpass the double-digit mark in scoring. MacKay also sits third alongside Hayton in points (33) and fourth in assists (18). 

 

Saginaw’s man-down unit killed four penalties before the third period, which ranks 13th in the OHL with 24 goals allowed on 107 man-down situations. 

 

In his first game back from Team USA, Coskey would score the game-winning goal at 13:04 in the third period, which now gives him sole possession of first place among Spirit player in goals (16) and points (35) 

 

Before taking his leave of absence on December 9, Coskey compiled 10 points in a combined five games, including three on the road against both the Niagara IceDogs and Mississauga Steelheads. 

 

Coskey sits in the top-five on the team in assists (19) as well. Gilmour also obtained his first point since being away on the secondary assist while 2018 New York Islanders second round Bode Wilde acquired his seventh assist in six games. 

 

Wilde, who agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract with the Islanders on December 3, currently ranks in the top-5 in goals (9), assists (25) and points (34) among all OHL defensemen this season.

 

Adding the empty net goal with less than two minutes remaining was fellow 2018 draft Islanders pick Blade Jenkins. Jenkins’ goal was his 14th point in his last eight contests.

 

Recently moving to the center position on the first line, which has spark a significant rise in offensive production for Jenkins, the Jackson, Michigan, native is tied for second with Wilde and Michnac for most points (34) by a Spirit player and third in assists (21).

 

Prosvetov gets his fourth straight win in net after making 24 saves. The 2018 OHL Import Draft first-round choice has a record of 16-6-2 this season and improves his goals against average (GAA) to 3.29 with a .895 save percentage (SAV%). 

 

Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:

 

1.      Keeghan Howdeshell (SOO) – A, -1

2.     Aidan Prueter (SAG) – G, 2A, +3

3.     Cole Coskey (SAG) – GWG, +1

 

Presented by Causley Trucking, The Dow Chemical Company and Yeo & Yeo, CPA’s, Detroit Red Wings television broadcast analyst Mickey Redmond will be at The Dow Event Center tomorrow night for a special pregame autograph session and ceremonial drop. 

 

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. as fans can meet and take photos with the two-time Stanley Cup champion alongside the Conn Smith Trophy, Frank J. Selke Trophy, Clarence Campbell Bowl, William M. Jennings Trophy and the James Norris Trophy. 

 

The session will run from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Fans must purchase a ticket to participate in the autograph signing, as the Spirit host the Erie Otters at 7:05 p.m.

 

Listen live on the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk & Sports and fmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers. Pre-game coverage starts 15 minutes before puck drop.

 

Purchasing an autograph package will take place at The Dow Hockey Corner while supplies last. More information of the offerings can be found on the official Saginaw Spirit website.

 

To purchase your tickets for all Saginaw home games, call (989) 497-7747, visit saginawspirit.com, or by visiting the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw, MI.

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