Sunday, January 6, 2019
Saginaw, MI – 2018 Arizona Coyotes goaltending prospect Ivan Prosvetov stopped a career-high 54 shots for his OHL-leading third shutout, as the Saginaw Spirit defeated the Sudbury Wolves, 2-0, on Sunday at The Dow Event Center.
It was the eighth consecutive win for Prosvetov, who now takes sole possession for the most shutouts among all OHL goalies this season, giving the Spirit their six win in a row and 21 of a possible 22 points since December 8.
Prosvetov, the first-round (13th overall) pick in this year’s OHL Import Draft, jumps to second alongside Stephen Dhillon of the Niagara IceDogs and Peterborough Pete’s Hunter Jones for the most wins with 20.
It is the most saves by an OHL goaltender since Alain Valiquette of Sudbury, who stopped 57 on March 4, 2011.
The Spirit further lessen the divide between themselves and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds as one point separates the two clubs in the race for the West Division crown. Saginaw also trails the London Knights by five points for the top standing in the Western Conference.
Third-year forward D.J. Busdeker joined nine other Spirit players in double-digit goals (10) with his wrist shot from the top of the left circle at 5:44 in the first period. After what would be the game-winning goal, Saginaw has now scored first in four consecutive games.
Held to without a point in only two games since December 9, Busdeker is eighth on the team in assists (16) and nine in points (26). Danny Katic and second-year forward Jake Goldowski were credited with the assist.
Katic now has points in six of his last eight games (8), while Goldowski gets his second assist in three games.
The Spirit would debut their new look powerplay unit Sunday, which included new trade acquisitions Ryan McLeod and Owen Tippett, in just the second game with their new club.
The two former Mississauga Steelheads standouts and NHL draft prospects were both coming off two-point outings Saturday in the 5-2 win over the Kitchener Rangers.
The Wolves nearly tied it with 9:37 left to go. On the transition from their second penalty kill, a two-on-one breakaway opportunity was swiftly denied by Prosvetov, who got the start for the ninth time in a month’s span.
Finnish goaltender and Buffalo Sabres 2017 second-round (54th overall) selection Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was a healthy scratch less than 24 hours after winning the goal medal in the IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Backup Jake McGrath allowed one goal and recorded 28 saves for his sixth loss in 12 appearances.
The Spirit won 11 of the 12 faceoffs in the first period.
Coming out of the locker room and dictating the pace in the offensive zone, the Wolves held Saginaw to without a shot in the second frame for almost 17 minutes.
Prosvetov made 22 straight saves and was successful on three penalty kills before Busdeker put an end to the shooting slump. Saginaw possessed the league’s eighth-best man-down unit (25 goals allowed, 130 situations) coming into the game.
The first coming within 47 seconds as third-year forward Peter Stratis’ one-timer on a cross-ice pass smacked the right post. Then with 1:32 left, a turnover in the neutral zone led to a breakaway for fourth-year forward Shane Bulitka, who couldn’t put it past Prosvetov’s extended pad.
Shots on goal favored the Wolves after 40 minutes 41-18 after outshooting the Spirit, 26-4 in the second period.
Days after representing Team Canada in the World Junior Championships, Tippett, a native of Peterborough, Ontario, fired a wrist shot in the slot that ricocheted off the crossbar to start the third period.
Owning the sixth highest points total by a Spirit player at 35, Tippett was held to without a point in just four of his first 20 games this season with Mississauga, before leaving the team on December 7 for the international showcase.
Prosvetov, who secured his new career-high save total at 9:34 of the third period, improved his goals against average to 3.07 with a 0.902 save percentage.
McLeod sealed it on the empty netter to extend his points to seven games. At 13 goals and 28 assists for 41 points, the 6-foot-3 forward is one-of-three players for the Spirit to surpass the 40-point mark.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
- Ivan Prosvetov (SAG)– W, 54 SAVs
- Jake McGrath (SBY) – 28 SAVs
- D.J. Busdeker (SAG)– GWG
Presented by Reder Landscaping, the Spirit ticket rush program is available for students, active duty military members and veterans to purchase discounted tickets for weekday regular-season home games.
Fans with a valid ID can score $5 upper level single seats leading up to each weekday home game, including Wednesday, January 9, as Saginaw hosts the defending OHL J. Ross Robertson Cup champions, Hamilton Bulldogs, at 7:05 p.m.
The Spirit’s final of a three-game home stand will also be the first-of-two meetings between the two teams. Hamilton has earned eight of a possible 10 points in the previous five games played.
Live coverage is on OHLLive.com, the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk & Sports andfmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers. “Countdown to Faceoff” with host Domenic Papa starts 15 minutes before puck drop.
To purchase your tickets for all Saginaw home games, call (989) 497-7747, visitsaginawspirit.com, or by visiting the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw, MI.