Saginaw, MI – The Saginaw Spirit captured their first home victory of the season with a 3-0 shutout Sunday evening over the Niagara IceDogs on United Way Night at The Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Michigan.
Goaltender Marshall Frappier earned his second career Ontario Hockey League shutout in his first game as a Saginaw Spirit.
The newly acquired Frappier was tested early after Saginaw’s Jacob Goldowski was called for a tripping penalty in the first period. Niagara put four shots that the Ottawa, Ontario native denied on the man-power advantage.
After Niagara’s Landon Cato was charged for a two-minute cross-checking penalty, Frappier made a nice save on an IceDogs shorthanded breakaway opportunity.
After the puck bounced over Saginaw defenseman Ilya Solovyov’s stick in the offensive zone, overager Oliver Castleman charged down the ice on a breakaway. Castleman attempted a deke to the backhand that was rejected by Frappier’s sliding pad save.
Dallas Stars draft pick Nicholas Porco nearly broke the scoreless tie for the Spirit just under 13 minutes into the opening frame. New York Islanders prospect Cole Coskey’s wrist shot rebounded off rookie netminder Tucker Tynan’s pad to the right of the crease.
The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native Porco took a quick backhand shot that beat Tynan but clanked off the post and floated behind the Niagara net.
The two goaltenders were the story in the first period as Frappier and Tynan combined to make 30 saves in the opening period. Saginaw finished the first period with a slight, 16-14 shot edge but the teams went into the intermission, scoreless.
After 2019 Nashville Predators first round pick Philip Tomasino was called for a tripping penalty, the Spirit had two scoring opportunities ricochet off the post.
New York Islanders Blade Jenkins collected a rebound off a blocked shot from the point and sent a turnaround shot attempt off the left post.
Less than a minute later 2020 NHL Draft top-prospect Cole Perfetti hammered a one-timer off the post. Minnesota Wild prospect Damien Giroux sent a nice saucer pass across the slot to set up the one-timer attempt.
Saginaw rookie defenseman Roberto Mancini finally broke the scoreless tie at 9:42 of the second period for his first career OHL goal. Perfetti created space near the point and sent a pass at the goal as Mancini drifted toward the net. The Saginaw rookie reached out a deflected the puck past Tynan to give the Spirit the 1-0 lead.
Saginaw nearly made it a two-goal advantage in the last seconds of the second period. Coskey sent a nice pass to Camaryn Baber at the top of the slot and Baber rifled a wrist shot past Tynan but bounced off the right post into the corner.
The Spirit carried the play in the middle frame and outshot the IceDogs, 15-5 in the second period of play.
Saginaw kept the pressure up early in the third period and Jacob Goldowski nearly added to the Spirit lead. Mancini pinched in at the point to keep the puck in and drop a pass to Goldowski at the left half-wall. The Thornhurst, Pennsylvania native sent a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that Tynan fought off with a glove save.
Frappier continued to shine in the third period, on a Niagara three-on-two rush, Tomasino dropped a pass off to Castleman at the right face-off circle. Castleman’s wrist shot from the right face-off dot was deflected away by a Frappier blocker. Then Frappier slid and dove to stop two IceDogs rebound attempts to keep the Spirit up one goal.
Tynan kept Niagara in the game late with a nice save on Saginaw rookie Josh Bloom. Danny Katic sent a pass from the left corner to the 2019 Saginaw Spirit second round pick for a one-timer that Tynan stopped with a sliding pad save.
Cole Coskey finally put a second goal past the rookie Tynan with just 4:34 remaining in regulation. Nicholas Porco skated wide-left around two Niagara defenders and sent a pass for a Coskey one-timer from the slot for the right-winger’s fourth goal of the season.
With the goal, Coskey extended his point-streak to five games to start the season.
Cole Perfetti added an empty-net goal with 11 seconds remaining in the third period for his first tally of the season to give the Spirit the 3-0 victory.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
- Marshall Frappier (SAG) SO, 26 saves
- Roberto Mancini (SAG) G
- Tucker Tynan (NIAG) 42 saves
The Saginaw Spirit will attempt to continue the momentum when they start a three-game road trip in St. Catharines, Ontario to take on the Niagara IceDogs Thursday, October 3. It’s a 7:00 p.m. puck drop from the Meridian Centre for the teams final meeting of the season.
Fans can catch all the action on the flagship WSGW Newsradio 100.5 FM and www.fmtalk1005.com with the voice of Saginaw Spirit hockey Joey Battaino on the call. “Countdown to Face-off” begins 15 minutes prior to puck drop.
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.
Saginaw returns home Wednesday, October 9 to take on the Peterborough Petes for the first of two meetings this season. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. from the Wendler Arena inside The Dow Event Center.
To purchase tickets to any Spirit home game call (989) 497-7747, visit www.saginawspirit.com, or visit the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw, MI.