Peterborough, ON – Spirit leading scorer Cole Coskey finished with two goals, including the game-winner, to send Saginaw to a contested 5-4 road win Thursday over the Peterborough Petes at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.
Beginning a week-long road trip with their fourth win in a row and 11th dating back to December 28, the Spirit continue to lessen the divide for first place in the OHL West Division by three points.
Coskey, who received first-star honors and extended his points streak to five games, has climbed to 13th all-time in team history in career scoring at 67. With 26 on the year, the fourth-year winger is one away from tying his season total from 2017-18.
Peterborough would arrive without its starting goaltender and second-ranked scorer in the lineup.
Hunter Jones and Nick Robertson were among 15 players representing the OHL in the 24th annual Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Alberta.
Going to the backup, Tye Austin, in the first-of-five straight games away from home for Saginaw, the Petes grabbed the game’s opening lead at 7:15 as Max Grondin would score on his former team.
Traded from the Spirit in late-October, the former 2016 Priority Selection second-round (37th overall) pick earned his first goal in 20 days. Grondin ended his tenure in mid-Michigan with 18 goals and 22 assists in 147 games played.
Saginaw went into the first intermission with two game-tying goals from rookie Cole Perfetti and Coskey.
Perfetti, who’s recorded three goals in the last four games, drew enough space in the slot to snipe it to the top-right corner.
The unassisted goal at 10:27 was the Spirit’s 38th on the power play this season. Their man-up unit came into the game ranked sixth-best in the league.
D.J. Busdeker, who made the move to the third defensive line in the absence of Reagan O’Grady, was credited with the assist on the Coskey goal with 1:25 left for the 2-2 tie.
Earlier, rookie Cameron Butler took a wrist shot in the left circle to pick up his 12th of the season and second go-ahead lead of the period for the Petes at 13:08.
Each club had 13 shots on goal after 20 minutes.
Before 2018 San Jose Sharks first-round (21st overall) Ryan Merkley boosted his team-leading points total to 49 to end the second period, Saginaw scored two straight in the first eight minutes, including a shorthanded breakaway goal from Nicholas Porco for the 4-2 advantage.
Coming at the midway point of a four-minute man-down affair, Porco ended an eight-game stretch without a goal for his 16th of the season, while the assist from Coskey marked his sixth multi-point outing since the beginning of this year’s second-half run.
Porco, who’s sixth on the team in goals, was among the 50 OHL players alongside rookie Mason Millman to appear in this week’s NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings for the 2019 NHL Draft.
Saginaw seized their first lead of the night at 5:44 on Justin Murray‘s second goal since joining the franchise via trade before the trade deadline
Grondin’s first multi-point performance in two months for the 4-4 tie at 3:22 in the third period would bring him to double-digit goals on the year. It’d be the first start in 27 days in which Arizona Coyotes goaltending prospect Ivan Prosvetov has allowed four goals or more.
With the win, Prosvetov has endured just one loss in his last 13 starts, making 26 saves to improve his goals against average (GAA) to 2.94 with a 0.907 save percentage (SAV%).
Following the second power play goal for Saginaw and eventual game-winner with 8:04 left, Thursday marked the third time since the turn of the New Year that Coskey has finished with more than one goal.
The Zion, Illinois, native is currently 16th overall in the OHL in points with 56.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
- Cole Coskey (SAG) – 2G, A, +2
- Max Grondin (PBO) – 2G
- Tye Austin (PBO) – 33 SVs
The road trip continues tomorrow with Saginaw visiting the Kingston Frontenacs at Leon’s Centre. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.
Another two-game series that gets underway this week for the Spirit features the last-place club in the Eastern Conference standings. At 12 wins, 32 losses and one overtime loss, the Frontenacs have lost nine of their last 10 games and are currently on a two-game losing streak.
Listen live the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk & Sports and fmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers. Pre-game coverage starts at 6:45 p.m. (EST).
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.
Without a player surpassing the 30-point mark in 45 games played, Kingston’s overage right-winger Ryan Cranford and 17-year-old defenseman Billy Constantinou have combined for 53 points on 18 goals and 35 assists.
The Spirit will finish the weekend stretch on Sunday, January 27, at TD Place against the Ottawa 67’s, before going on a two-day break.
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.