Oshawa, ON – The Saginaw Spirit (39-15-2-3) survived in overtime to extend their points streak to four games following Sunday’s 5-4 win over the Oshawa Generals at the Tribute Communities Centre.
Rookie Cole Perfetti needed 29 seconds to score the game-winner in Saginaw’s first win in extra-time this season since November 22.
Saginaw never trailed, but surrendered three straight goals in the final 12 minutes of the third period, to split the two-game regular-season series against the third-place Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference Generals.
The divide for first place in the OHL West Division between the Spirit and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds is brought back down to two points before their upcoming matchup on Wednesday.
Saginaw captain and 2018 Minnesota Wild prospect Damien Giroux dropped to one knee in the slot before scoring the first period’s opening goal at 2:32.
Giroux has tied his season-high points total (43) from 2017-18 after picking up his 25th goal of the year. The fifth-round (155th overall) NHL Draft pick is first on the team with a plus-minus rating of +26.
Six penalties were issued after 20 minutes as the Spirit, who came into the game with the league’s fourth-best man-down unit, killed four and endured a 5-on-3 run for 13 seconds at 13:47.
Second-year forward Camaryn Baber brought it to a two-goal difference with his third in the month of February and sixth of the season.
The unassisted rocket blew past the shoulder of Boston Bruins free agent goaltender Kyle Keyser with 8:13 before the intermission. Baber recorded an assist in Saturday’s 6-3 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Former 2016 Saginaw free agent signee Kyle Bollers grabbed the assist off Cole Resnick’s deficit shortening goal at 4:55 in the second. Resnick, the fourth-liner for the Generals, would end a nine-game stretch without a goal.
Bode Wilde, who registered his 17th goal to make it 3-1 at 12:02, now sits alone for second all-time in Spirit history for most points (62) among team defenseman in a single-season. The Plymouth, Michigan, native helped set up the breakaway goal by Perfetti in overtime.
The 2018 New York Islanders second-round (41st overall) pick, is tied for first across all OHL blueliners in power-play goals (9) this season and is third in assists (45).
Saginaw maintained a three-goal lead after 40 minutes once Detroit Red Wings prospect Reilly Webb deposited the puck top-shelf for his first goal as a member of the Spirit.
Since being traded from Hamilton at the midway point of last season, Webb went 88 consecutive games without a goal, but found an open lane in the slot for his 15th point of the season with 3:45 left.
Overage defenseman Justin Murray and veteran forward D.J. Busdeker were each credited with the assist.
Murray’s recent production on the offensive end in the last seven games has included two goals and six assists. The former Barrie Colts captain controls the second-highest plus-minus rating on the team alongside Perfetti at +25.
Busdeker, the native of Dexter, Michigan, is on a season-high eight-game points streak with two goals and seven assists for nine points. He’s finished with one assist in the last five games.
The Generals opened the third period by killing a double-minor penalty at 3:26.
It’d set up the three-goal comeback before the end of regulation as former Philadelphia Flyers prospect Anthony Salinitri scored his 41st of the year on the power play at 12:27.
Danil Antropov and Allan McShane led the game-tying affair in the final two minutes of play. The ladder of the two notched his second in four games with 12 seconds remaining to extend Oshawa’s points streak to 12 games.
Perfetti’s heroic play came one day after passing former Detroit Red Wing Jan Mursak for the franchise record for most goals in a single-season by a first-year player. The 17-year-old is tied with Owen Tippett for second in goals (30) among Spirit players this season.
Tippett, the Florida Panthers’ first-round (10th overall) pick in 2017, finished with two assists.
2018 Arizona Coyotes fourth-round (114th overall) pick Ivan Prosvetov made 40 saves en route to his 31st win in 46 appearances this season. The former 2018 OHL Import Draft first-rounder has a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.07, 0.906 save percentage (SAV%) and is averaging 27.5 saves per game.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
- Allan McShane (OSH) – G, A
- Nicolas Mattinen (OSH) – 2A
- Bode Wilde (SAG) – G, A
The Spirit wrap up their two-week long road trip Wednesday against Sault Ste. Marie at 7:07 p.m. (EST).
It’ll be the sixth of an eight-game regular-season series between Saginaw and second-place OHL Western Conference Greyhounds and the third at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
Having secured three wins against the Soo this season, including two at home, a win Wednesday would jump the Spirit to first place in the West Division for the first time since the month of September.
Listen live on the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk & Sports and fmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers. Pre-game coverage starts at 6:52 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.
2017 Philadelphia Flyers first-rounder Morgan Forst is the first OHL player to reach triple-digit points (103) through the latter half of February. The 19-year-old forward is also first in the league in assists (66).
In 43 appearances, Los Angeles Kings goaltending prospect Matthew Villalta has compiled a record of 29-9-4-0 with a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.14 and a 0.899 save percentage (SAV%).
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.