The Spirit enter a stretch with a busy run of games in mid-January as they will play six of their next seven games on the road. Saginaw will travel to Sault Ste. Marie on Friday January 14, before returning home one night later to the Dow Event Center to face off against the Kitchener Rangers. From there the Spirit will be on the road in Plymouth, Peterborough, Ottawa, Kingston and Sarnia before returning home on Friday January 28 against the Oshawa Generals.
On the ice, Saginaw’s revamped blueline was showcased for the first time in Wednesday’s home win against Plymouth as former Barrie Colts Captain Dalton Prout and fellow Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Brandon Archibald, over from Sault Ste. Marie, made their debuts in the game. Goaltender Mavric Parks continues to post impressive numbers on the season as he entered Thursday’s action tied for the league lead in wins with Detroit prospect Petr Mrazek of Ottawa, and number two in the OHL in save percentage, just behind Mrazek in that category. NHL Central Scouting’s Mid Term Rankings for North American talent were released this week with the Spirit figuring prominently in the poll. Brandon Saad is the eighth rated player overall, with Vince Trocheck 42nd, Anthony Camara 86th and Tad Galansky 10th among eligible goaltenders. The Spirit also continue to lead the Ontario Hockey League in both penalty killing and on the power play.
Saginaw at Sault Ste. Marie: This game will mark the sixth meeting of the season between the West Division rivals with the Spirit owning a 4-1-0-0 advantage in the season series. It has been a major transition period for the Hounds this week as they look to get back into the playoff picture in the West as changes both on and off the ice were noteworthy. Sault Ste. Marie General Manager Dave Torrie will add Head Coach to his portfolio, at least for the time being, as the team elected to part company with Denny Lambert
There will also be two new notable on ice additions on Friday night with one being very familiar to Spirit fans. Former Saginaw forward Michael Kantor will be up against his former teammates for the first time after being part of the transaction that brought Brandon Archibald to the Spirit. The Hounds also added more size up front with the acquisition of former Erie Otters top pick David Broll who was part of the deal that saw high scoring Brett Thompson move to the Otters. The Greyounds also have five players listed by NHL Central Scouting in the North American pool as Daniel Catenacci, who has a league high 9 game goal streak, is the 43rd rated player, Nick Cousins comes in at 76th, Broll is the 78th rated player, Ryan Sproul is 124th, and Colin Miller is 191st.
Kitchener at Saginaw: This game will mark the first meeting between the two clubs since the Spirit opened their season against the Rangers back in September. As of Thursday, Kitchener, along with Owen Sound, were both eight points back of the Spirit for top spot in the Western Conference so this is a four point game in every sense of the term.
On the ice, the Rangers certainly miss the services of Gabriel Landeskog who is out with a lower body injury which sidelined him for the majority of the World Jr. Championship where he was representing Team Sweden. Landeskog is the number one rated player in North America according to Central Scouting for the next NHL Draft in Minnesota. Two more Rangers are both enjoying great seasons as Draft Eligible defenseman Ryan Murphy currently leads all OHL rearguards in goals and assists and veteran forward Jason Akeson is third in league scoring and second in the circuit in assists. Former Saginaw defenseman Cody Sol is currently out with a suspension.
Get your tickets! The world famous ZOOPERSTARS! will be at the Spirit’s next home game, Saturday January 15 against the Kitchener Rangers. The puck drops at 7:11 PM. For ticket information, please contact the Saginaw Spirit at 989-497-7747 or visit the Official Saginaw Spirit Ticket and Merchandise Store at 5789 State Street in Saginaw. Tickets can also be purchased at SaginawSpirit.com or any TicketMaster Outlet.