Guelph, ON – The Saginaw Spirit extended their winning streak to seven games with a 5-3 win in a tightly contested battle against the Guelph Storm on Friday evening.
The Spirit are now four points ahead of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for the West Division lead with just five games remaining for both teams.
Forward Camaryn Baber was honored with the game’s first-star with a goal and assist in the victory.
Edmonton Oilers second round pick Ryan McLeod collected the game winner in the third period.
Saginaw has now won seven-straight games and snap the Storm’s seven-game win streak.
Arizona Coyotes prospect Ivan Prosvetov made several big saves early after Guelph controlled the first five minutes of play. The Storm’s leading goal scorer Isaac Ratcliffe had two golden opportunities to open the scoring within the first three minutes of play.
The 2017 Philadelphia Flyers second round pick was stoned point blank by a Prosvetov pad. Ratcliffe took a wrist shot from the left face-off dot that the Russian goaltender blocked with his shoulder.
Saginaw’s Ethan Cardwell opened the scoring 13:44 into first period with his fifth goal of the season. Sophomore forward Camaryn Baber slid a pass over for the rookie to one-time from the left face-off circle. Cardwell’s shot hit the right post and redirected into the Storm net off Guelph’s goaltender Anthony Popovich.
Cardwell, a 2018 second round pick of the Spirit, extended his goal streak to three games on the play.
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native Baber has points in five of the last six games with a goal and seven assists.
The Spirit led by one-goal after the first period of play and outshot the Storm, 10-8.
Saginaw took a two-goal lead just over seven minutes into the second period with Baber’s seventh goal of the year. Rookie defenseman Mason Millman centered a pass from the left point that Baber redirected into the open Guelph net.
Millman, a 2019 NHL Draft prospect, extended his point streak to three games with the assist.
The Spirit extended the lead to three goals just over five minutes later off the stick of Jackson, Michigan native Blade Jenkins. The New York Islanders prospect collected a loose puck off a Nicholas Porco shot from the slot. Jenkins was able to hammer home the rebound for his 22nd goal of the season.
Jenkins, the 2016 fourth overall pick by the Saginaw Spirit, collected his 100th career OHL point with the goal.
With a secondary assist on the Jenkins goal, New York Islanders signee Bode Wilde has points in seven straight games.
Guelph was able to get on the board with just under five minutes remaining in the second period. Ratcliffe was able to extend his point streak to eight games with his team leading 48th goal of the season.
With just 23 seconds remaining in the second period of play, Dallas Stars fourth round pick Liam Hawel one-timed home a Zachary Roberts pass from behind the net. Hawel’s 36th goal brought the Storm within one-goal heading into the second intermission.
Shots were even, 21-21 through two periods of play.
The Spirit capitalized on their first opportunity in the final frame to pull back ahead by two goals. Overager Albert Michnac set-up 2018 Edmonton Oilers second round pick Ryan McLeod in the slot. McLeod snapped home the one-timer short-side for his 18th goal of the season to give the Spirit a 4-2 lead.
It was the Mississauga, Ontario native’s first goal since February 13 against the Flint Firebirds.
Guelph’s Dmitri Samorukov answered the McLeod goal 7:33 into the third period to make it once again a one-goal game. The Edmonton Oilers prospect hammered home a one-timer set up by St. Louis Blues prospect Alexey Toropchenko.
Ratcliffe had a chance to tie the game for the Storm with just over two minutes remaining in the third period. The Guelph left-winger attempted to slide home a wraparound behind the net that Prosvetov kept out with a pad save.
The Spirit net-minder showed his leg strength when several Guelph players attempted to poke the puck into the net but Prosvetov held strong.
2017 Florida Panthers 10th overall pick Owen Tippett added an empty-net tally from the Spirit side of center ice. With the goal, Tippett is first one the Spirit with 32 goals on the year.
Prosvetov made 31 saves to collect his 34th victory of the season.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
- Camaryn Baber (SAG) G, A +1
- Dmitri Samorukov (GUE) G
- Albert Michnac (SAG) 2A +2
The Spirit continue the three-game road trip Saturday, March 9 against the Western Conference leading London Knights. Saginaw and London split the first two meetings of the season, with both teams victorious on home ice. Puck drop from Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario is set for 7:00 p.m.
Fans can follow all the action on the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk and Sports and fmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers on the call. “Countdown to Face-off” begins 15 minutes prior to puck drop for all your pregame coverage.
Fans can watch the game live from the Saginaw Spirit “Watch Party” from the 2690 Tittabawassee Road Buffalo Wild Wings location.
Saginaw returns home Thursday, March 14 against the West Division rival Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. The two teams are separated by just four points with just five games left to play. Puck drop for the seventh of eight meetings of the season is set for 7:05 p.m.
There is a $5 student and military ticket rush for the game against the Greyhound presented by Reder Landscaping. Bay City’s Steve Armstrong and the 25 Cent Beer Band will be entertaining fans before the game in the Budweiser Red Room at 5:30 p.m.
To purchase tickets to any Saginaw Spirit home game call (989) 497-7747, visit saginawspirit.com, or by visiting the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw, MI.