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Recap: Spirit cement themselves as winningest team in 17-year team history

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Sarnia, ON – The Saginaw Spirit extended their win streak to nine games following Tuesday’s 6-2 win over the Sarnia Sting at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena.

Tonight, the Spirit set a new team record for most wins in a single-season at 45. They need only two points to guarantee themselves the Ontario Hockey League West Division title for the first time in eight years.

The first period opened with a double minor penalty issued to Spirit defenseman Ian Lemieux at 7:53.

It’d be the only power play earned by either club after 20 minutes as Saginaw’s man-down unit held the Sting scoreless in that four-minute span.

15 seconds before intermission saw 2018 Edmonton Oilers second-round (40th overall) draft pick Ryan McLeod score for his 19th of the season and second in three games. Owen Tippett and Bode Wilde would set up the open net opportunity.

Tippett, the former tenth overall draft pick by the Florida Panthers in 2017, collected his 14th assist since February 18 and now has points in nine of the last 10 games.

The Sting went on the board three minutes into the second frame despite being on their second penalty kill.

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ryan McGregor, who’s second on the team in goals (25) and points (73), backhanded it to the back of the net for the game-tying score.

Before Sarnia could regroup once the two-minute power play was killed at 4:33, the Spirit went ahead again off Damien Giroux’s tip-in in front of former Saginaw goaltender Cameron Lamour.

Giroux, the Minnesota Wild fifth-round prospect, scores his second goal in the month of March for 28 on the year. Tippett and Wilde were each credited with their second assists.

Saginaw later had a quick response from the shot blocker-side goal by Hugo Leufvenius at 10:31.

2018 OHL Priority Selection fifth overall pick Cole Perfetti timed it perfectly to avoid the checking attempt and create the one-on-one matchup with Lamour.

Perfetti now has points in nine of the last 10 games after walking in to tuck the puck past Lamour with 5:23 remaining.

Three days following the Whitby, Ontario, native’s four-goal performance in the win over the London Knights, Perfetti ups his team-leading season goal total to 36 for the 3-2 lead

The assist by Blade Jenkins marked the 2018 New York Islanders fifth-rounder (134th overall) pick’s sixth in five games.

Sarnia killed its third penalty to start the third period but went down two at 3:33 as Tippett snapped it over the left shoulder of Lamour for his 33rd goal of the season.

Tippett has registered three points or more in five games since being acquired at the trade deadline in January.

Perfetti, who assisted off the Tippett goal, nabbed his third point of the night at 7:26 when Jenkins went between the legs for his second goal in three games for 58 points on the year.

Lamour, drafted by the Spirit in 2016, finished with 21 saves in his 19th appearance for Sarnia while 2018 Arizona Coyotes fourth-round goaltending prospect Ivan Prosvetov stopped 29 shots for his 36th win this season.

The former CHL Import Draft first-rounder has a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.96 and a 0.909 save percentage (SAV%).

Giroux made it a four-goal difference on the backdoor tap-in at 15:28 for his first multi-goal affair since February 9.

Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:

  1. Owen Tippett (SAG) – G, 3A, +4
  2. Cole Perfetti (SAG) – G, 2A, +5
  3. Ryan McGregor (SAR) – G, A

The Spirit return to The Dow Event Center on Thursday as they host the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds at 7:05 p.m. (EST).

It’ll be the seventh of an eight-game regular-season series between Saginaw and second-place OHL West Division Greyhounds.

Listen live on OHLLive.com, the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk & Sports and fmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers. “Countdown to Faceoff” with host Domenic Papa starts at 6:50 p.m. (EST).

Upper-level seating tickets to students and military personnel are available for $5, courtesy of Reder Landscaping, in this week’s Ticket Rush event.

Bay City’s Steve Armstrong and the 25 cent Beer Band will be playing in the Budweiser Red Room prior to puck drop beginning at 5:30 p.m. (EST).

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.

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