Saginaw, MI – The Saginaw Spirit scored two second period goals in 48 seconds to top the Erie Otters, 2-1 Sunday evening on Pink Out Night at The Dow Event Center Presented by Ascension St. Mary’s to earn a split in the weekend series.
Saginaw goaltender Tristan Lennox stopped 21 of 22 shot en route to his first victory of the season.
Spirit rookie Calem Mangone tallied his first career OHL goal to tie the game in the second period.
Brighton, Michigan native T-Bone Codd tallied the eventual game-winner with his first goal of the season.
New York Islanders draft pick Tristan Lennox was tested on a two-on-one rush after a Saginaw defenseman stumbled in the neutral zone near the seven-minute mark of the first period. Erie rookie Taeo Artichuk streaked down the left-wing and sent a behind-the-back pass over to overager Brendan Sellan at the right circle. Sellan attempted a deke to his left but the Saginaw goaltender Lennox denied the attempt with a quick blocker save.
The Spirit nearly took the lead with just over eight minutes left in the opening frame on a quick pass to the top of the crease by center Matyas Sapovaliv. The Kladno, Czech Republic native grabbed the puck at the left half-wall of the Erie defensive zone and centered a pass to fellow rookie Sebastien Gervais in the slot, who fired a turnaround shot that was gobbled up by Otters goalie Marshall Nicholls.
In the waning minutes of the opening period Saginaw kept the pressure on the Otters with Spirit captain Camaryn Baber showed his patience at the left circle and found rookie P.J. Forgione at the center point. The defenseman Forgione hammered a one-timer that Nicholls followed with his right pad to deflect the puck into the corner to keep the game scoreless as the teams headed into the first intermission.
Saginaw killed off all three Erie man-power advantages in the first 20 minutes of play, while they went 0-for-1 on their only power play.
After a slashing penalty assessed to Spirit defenseman Roberto Mancini, the Otters opened the scoring on a Brett Bressette power play tally 3:03 into the second period. Elias Cohen centered a pass to the slot, where Bressette one-timed that deflected off Lennox’s shoulder into the net for his first goal of the season.
Saginaw rookie Calem Mangone evened the score with his first career Ontario Hockey League (OHL) goal just over a minute after Bressette opened the scoring. Mangone drove into the Erie zone an dropped off a pass to Sapovaliv, who fired a puck off Nicholls pad to the left, where Mangone cleaned up the rebound and fired the puck into the Otters goal. Sapovaliv and left-winger Evan Klein each contributed their first OHL points with assists on the Mangone goal.
Brighton, Michigan native T-Bone Codd gave the Spirit a 2-1 lead just 48 seconds later on a highlight reel goal for his first of the season. Codd received a pass in the neutral zone from rookie Luke McNamara and the right-winger took the puck wide around the Erie defenseman. Codd cut into the front of the net on his backhand and slid the puck through the Erie netminder’s five-hole for the goal. With an assist on the Codd goal, the 2021 Saginaw Spirit first-round pick collected his first OHL point.
After the two Spirit goals, Lennox was tested when the Otters stepped up the urgency and the Saginaw goaltender stood strong to keep the Spirit ahead by a goal after 40 minutes of play.
With the Spirit on the power play, Erie overager Brendan Hoffmann poked the puck past a Saginaw defenseman and came down the right-wing on a shorthanded breakaway. Hoffmann cut into the front of the net with a deke to his back hand, but Lennox was up to the task with a stop with his right toe, to keep the Spirit up by one-goal.
With just under four minutes left in the third period, Erie made a bid to tie the game with a scramble in front of the Spirit net but Lennox made a desperation save on the Erie captain Daniel D’Amato and the puck deflected off the crossbar when the Saginaw goaltender was on his back to secure the Spirit’s 2-1 victory.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
- Tristan Lennox (SAG) W, 21 SVS
- T-Bone Codd (SAG) G
- Calem Mangone (SAG) G
The 2021-22 Coors Light I-75 Divide kicks off Wednesday, October 20, when the Spirit travel to Flint, Michigan to take on the in-state rival Firebirds to start a three-game road swing. Puck drop from Dort Federal Event Center begins at 7:00 p.m.
Fans can follow the action on 100.5 WSGW-FM or by visiting wsgw.com with the voices of the Saginaw Spirit Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers on the call.
The Spirit return to The Dow Event Center on Wednesday, October 27 when they host the rival Flint Firebirds to continue the Coors Light I-75 Divide Rivalry. Puck drop between the West Division rivals begins at 7:05 p.m.
For tickets to any Saginaw Spirit home game fans can call (989) 497-7747, visit saginawspirit.com, or by visiting the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw, MI.
Fans with any questions or concerns about fan protocols may call the Spirit at (989) 497-7747 or email firstname.lastname@example.org