Spirit host Firebirds for first-ever Game 1 Thursday

By Matthew Wesolowski

Saginaw, Mich. – The Saginaw Spirit (36-27-3-2 Reg, 0-0 Playoffs) take on the Flint Firebirds (35-28-4-1 Reg, 0-0 Playoffs) Thursday, March 30, at the Dow Event Center.

Tonight’s Game:

Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m.

Tonight’s game is the start of the 2022-2023 OHL Playoffs for the Spirit. This is the first time in franchise history that Flint and Saginaw have met in the playoffs.

Just yesterday, the CHL announced that Saginaw had been selected to host the Memorial Cup in 2024. The announcement comes ahead of the Spirit’s first playoff game since the 2019 Western Conference Finals.



Phone: (989) 497-7747

In-Person: Saginaw Spirit Store (6321 State St.), Dow Event Center Box Office


Television: CHL TV, CHL App, OHL Action Pak Ch. 469

Radio: 100.5 FM WSGW,

Last Time:

Saginaw ended their regular season with a 6-4 loss to the Owen Sound Attack Sunday, March 26, at the Dow Event Center. Calem Mangone scored two goals while Hunter Haight earned two assists for the Spirit. Andrew Oke got the start for Saginaw, stopping 25 of 30 shots faced.

Box Score & Highlights

Flint concluded their regular season with a 6-4 loss to the same Owen Sound Attack Saturday, March 25, at the Dort Financial Center in Flint, Michigan. Coulson Pitre and Matthew Jenken each netted a goal and an assist for the Firebirds.

Box Score & Highlights

The Series So Far:

During the regular season, Saginaw won five of the eight scheduled meetings. However, Flint took the final meeting with a 3-2 win at home on February 26. In that game, Mitchell Smith potted a goal and an assist while Dean Loukus racked up two helpers for Saginaw. Amadeus Lombardi, Ethan Hay, and Tyler Deline scored the three Firebird goals. Before the game, Smith was named as the 23rd Captain in team history. Andrew Oke got the nod for the Spirit, stopping 34 of 37 shots faced. Nathan Day started in net for Flint, stopping 26 of 28 shots faced.

During the eight regular season games, Dean Loukus scored the most points against Flint with 12 (5G, 7A) while Braeden Kressler scored the most against Saginaw with 11 (6G, 5A).

Players to Watch:

Hunter Haight has excelled for Saginaw after being acquired from the Barrie Colts mid-season. Since the trade, the Minnesota Wild pick has 51 points (18G, 33A) in 42 games and led his team in points (60) and assists (39) through the 2022-2023 campaign. Matyas Sapovaliv’s 27 goals were the most of any Spirit skaters at the end of the season. With 45 games played this year and 25 wins, Tristan Lennox held the best goals against average (GAA) for Saginaw with a 3.15. Andrew Oke, who played 24 games this campaign, had the highest save percentage (SV%) with an .892.

Amadeus Lombardi finished the season leading Flint in all scoring aspects (45G, 57A, 102P) and broke the records for most assists and points in one season by a Firebird. The Detroit Red Wings pick was third in the OHL for points and second in game-opening goals (9). Will Cranley held top goaltending marks for Flint, posting a 3.87 GAA and an .884 SV%.

Saginaw has three (3) players drafted into the National Hockey League (NHL), including Matyas Sapovaliv (Vegas), Tristan Lennox (New York Islanders), and Hunter Haight (Minnesota).

Flint has six (6) players linked to the NHL, including Braeden Kressler (Toronto, FA), Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg), Gavin Hayes (Chicago), Will Cranley (St Louis), Amadeus Lombardi (Detroit), and Artem Guryev (San Jose).


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