Spirit Weekly Preview presented by Yeo & Yeo: March 24th, 25th, and 26th

Entering the final week of the regular season, the Saginaw Spirit have fourth place and home ice in the first round locked up. However, their opponent is still very much in question. As only four points separate the 5th-8th ranked teams, Saginaw could meet any of Flint, Guelph, Owen Sound or Kitchener come playoff time. The Spirit were recently an honorable mention on the Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings during Week 24 after claiming points in eight straight games. This week, they travel to the Soo before hosting Guelph and Owen Sound to close the regular season.

Quick Hits:

  • Saginaw Spirit (36-24-3-2) – 77pts
  • 3rd in the West Division
  • 4th in the Western Conference
  • Last week: 2-0-1-0
  • Team Stats

Spirit by the Numbers

  • The Spirit are 6-0-1-1 in the month of March, starting with a 2-0 shutout in Peterborough on March 2
  • Andrew Oke was stellar last week for Saginaw, collecting a pair of wins and posting a .920 SV%. Oke is now 4-1-0-0 in his last five starts with a 2.60 GAA and .924 SV%.
  • Spirit captain Mitchell Smith has 13 points (7G, 6A) in his last nine games, including his first career hat trick on March 15th in Windsor and the OT winner two nights later in Kitchener. He’s set a career high in points this season (51), and now sits third among Spirit defensemen with 117 during his OHL career.
  • Hunter Haight has stepped into the Spirit point lead with 58 (21G, 37A) this season. He sits at 99 career OHL points.
  • Michael Misa (1G-3A-4P) and Zayne Parekh (3A) have scored in all three games since returning to the lineup on March 15th.

Game by Game

Friday, March 24th @ Sault Ste. Marie

While the Spirit lead the season series against the Soo (4-1-1-1), they’ve had mixed results inside GFL Memorial Gardens this season. A 6-2 win on February 15th is their only win in the Soo this season, and it follows one each of regulation and overtime losses. Zayne Parekh has enjoyed particular success in the Soo despite his team’s record, scoring four goals and adding an assist in three games there. Saginaw eliminated the Soo from playoff contention with a 3-1 win at the Dow Event Center on March 11th.

Saturday, March 25th vs. Guelph – LIVE on WNEM TV 5+

The Spirit opened the season by welcoming the Guelph Storm to the Dow Event Center on October 1st with a 10-6 victory. Both teams have evolved in the nearly six months since then, but Saginaw has held firm in the season series and claimed victory in all three games so far. Most recently, a 4-2 win in Guelph on February 17th saw three assists from Mitchell Smith. The Storm are one of four potential first round matchups for the Spirit, and boast the OHL’s second-leading assist getter in Matthew Poitras. His 73 helpers on the season are second only to Sarnia’s Ty Voit (79). Max Namestnikov has made a home for himself with the Storm since arriving from the Sting earlier this season, scoring 31 goals in 44 Storm games.

The Spirit will be recognizing all of the billet families prior to the game for their dedication to hockey in Saginaw. The game will also be broadcast live on WNEM TV5+ beginning at 7pm. For more information on how to watch live, click here.

Sunday, March 26th vs. Owen Sound – Overager Night & Post game jersey auction

The Owen Sound Attack come to Saginaw for the final game of a three-in-three as well as the regular season. Sunday evening’s game will be only the second time this season that these two Western Conference opponents clash. The Spirit took a 3-2 win at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre on February 18th thanks to a pair of goals from Matyas Sapovaliv. The Attack remain a formidable opponent despite losing three straight and seven of their last ten games. Colby Barlow was the #10 North American prospect according to NHL Central Scouting’s midterm ranking, the highest-ranked skater in the OHL. He leads the way for Owen Sound with 46 goals on the season and is tied for third in the entire league.

Prior to their final regular season OHL game, the Spirit will honor overage players Mitchell Smith, Tristan Lennox, and Theo Hill. Lennox and Smith were both drafted by Saginaw in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. Headed into this weekend, Smith has played in 189 games with the organization across three seasons, while Lennox has been between the pipes for 121 contests in Saginaw since 2018. Theo Hill was acquired by the Spirit from the Sarnia Sting in early September. He’s spent 63 of his 243 career OHL games with Saginaw.

After the game, each of the Spirit’s game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off to fans in attendance.

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