Saginaw, MI. – A second consecutive third period comeback powered the Saginaw Spirit to a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa 67’s Thursday evening at The Dow Event Center.
With Yanic Crete in the penalty box with a high-sticking call 2:23 into the opening frame, defenseman Ilya Solovyov nearly opened scoring for the Spirit just three minutes into the first period on a give-and-go with Saginaw captain Damien Giroux.
The Belarusian defenseman passed off to Giroux at the blue line, who sent the puck right back to the streaking Solovyov into the Ottawa zone. Solovyov skated down and rifled a wrist shot from the top of the right face-off circle that was stopped by Ottawa goaltender Cedrick Andree’s pad.
Saginaw’s Camaryn Baber gave the Spirit a one-goal lead 6:26 into the first period with his third goal of the season.
Giroux sent a pass back to the point for quick shot from the 2019 Saginaw Spirit first round pick Connor Punnett that was redirected in the slot by Baber for the goal. Punnett earned his first career OHL point with the primary assist on the goal.
After Mason Millman was called for a hooking penalty, 2020 NHL Draft prospect Marco Rossi tied the game, 1-1 with his sixth goal of the season with 11:44 left in the first period.
The Austrian forward received a cross ice pass from overager Joseph Garreffa at the left circle. Rossi fired a wrist shot that beat Saginaw Spirit goaltender Tristan Lennox over his right shoulder to tie the game.
The assist for Garreffa gave him 15 points in 13 career games against the Spirit.
New Jersey Devils prospect Mitchell Hoelscher gave Ottawa the lead 13:41 into the opening period for his team-leading 13th goal of the season. The Spirit coughed up the puck at the Ottawa blue line and sprung the 67’s forward on a breakaway. Hoelscher deked to his backhand and slid the puck through Lennox’s open five-hole for the goal.
Just under a minute later Saginaw forward Jake Goldowski brought the Spirit back even with his sixth goal of the season. Ottawa defenseman Alec Belanger’s pass was intercepted by Goldowski in the Ottawa slot, where the Spirit forward sniped a wrist shot short side past Andree to tie the game.
Saginaw outshot Ottawa, 10-8 after the first period of play but the teams went into the first intermission tied, 2-2.
Spirit netminder Lennox was tested with a point-blank shot by Ottawa’s Johnston in the Saginaw slot. Johnston trailed an Ottawa rush up ice and received a pass just inside the Saginaw zone. The left-winged skated down and took a wrist shot that Lennox denied with a quick glove save to keep the game tied.
Ottawa regained the lead 14:44 into the second period with their second power play goal of the game. Arizona Coyotes draft pick Kevin Bahl sent a pass across the Saginaw point for a Hoelscher one-timer from the top of the right-circle for his second goal of the game.
Saginaw trailed 3-2 after 40 minutes of play despite the 19-16 shot advantage for the Spirit through two periods.
While on a power play, Saginaw nearly tied the game early in the third period on a backdoor pass from New York Islanders prospect Blade Jenkins. The Jackson, Michigan native Jenkins called for the puck to the right of the net and attempted a pass through the crease to Damien Giroux that was just tipped away by Andree’s stick.
The Spirit kept the pressure up in the third as New York Islanders prospect Cole Coskey nearly scored with just under 11 minutes left in regulation. Solovyov feathered a pass over to Coskey in at the top of the slot for a one-timer that Andree denied with a pad save.
As an Ottawa penalty expired in a four-on-four situation, which put the 67’s on the power play, Saginaw’s D.J. Busdeker tied the game at 14:43 of the third period with his fourth of the season.
The Dexter, Michigan native Busdeker came out of the left corner towards the Ottawa net and roofed a shot over Andree’s right shoulder for his third shorthanded goal of the season.
2020 NHL Draft top-prospect Cole Perfetti gave the Spirit the lead for the first time since the first period with his seventh goal of the season. The Spirit forward walked around an Ottawa defenseman and sniped a wrist shot top-shelf for the eventual game-winning goal.
The Whitby, Ontario native Perfetti has goals in the last two games for his team-leading 33rd point of the season.
Saginaw dominated the play in the final frame and outshot Ottawa, 14-4 in the third period.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
- Cole Perfetti (SAG) GWG
- J. Busdeker (SAG) SHG
- Mitchell Hoelscher (OTT) 2G
The Saginaw Spirit hit the road to take on the Storm Saturday, November 16 for the first meeting of the season after the first game was postponed at The Dow due to ice conditions. Puck drop from the Sleeman Centre in Guelph, Ontario is at 4:00 p.m.
Fans can catch all the action on the flagship WSGW Newsradio 100.5 FM and www.wsgw.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 Thursday, November 21 to host the Owen Sound Attack at The Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Michigan. Puck drop for the first of two regular season meetings begins at 7:05 p.m.
The Spirit will be selling $6 student and military rush tickets for the game against the Attack.
To purchase tickets to any Saginaw Spirit home game call (989) 497-7747, visit www.saginawspirit.com, or visit the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw MI.