Preview: Spirit Face Firebirds for 12th Annual Shocks and Saves Night in Saginaw
Saginaw, MI - The Saginaw Spirit (31-14-2-2 66pts.) return home after a five-game road swing to take on the in-state rival Flint Firebirds (9-39-3-0 21pts.) Saturday, February 2. Puck drop for the back end of a home-in-home series against the West Division rivals is set for 7:30 p.m.
Watch live on OHLlive.com or listen live on the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk and Sports and fmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers on the call. "Countdown to Faceoff" with host Domenic Papa starts 15 minutes prior to puck drop.
To purchase tickets to any Saginaw Spirit home game call (989) 497-7747, visit www.saginawspirit.com, or by visiting the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw, MI.
The twelfth annual Shocks and Saves charity game presented by the Pulse3 foundation and Mobile Medical Response will be held prior to the Spirit battles the Firebirds. The Detroit Red Wings alumni take on the local EMT's and doctors at 4:30 p.m. Discounted $13 Fundraiser tickets are available at the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street on online at www.saginawspirit.net/groupsales/ for Saturday's games. The Username is Shocks18 and the password is Spirit.
Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer, Pulse3 foundation and local sponsor Mobile Medical Response, as well as the Saginaw Spirit hope to raise funds in order for Great Lakes Bay public facilities are equipped with Automatic External Defibulators or AED's. Also participating in the charity game are former Red Wings Darren McCarty, Larry Murphy, John Ogrodnick, Jimmy Carson, and Michigan State graduate Kip Miller.
Saginaw snapped a two-game winless streak Friday evening, 4-2 at the Dort Federal Event Center against the Firebirds. The Spirit are third in the Western Conference and just four-points behind the West Division leading Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Special teams may be a contributing factor in Saturday's contest with the teams heading in very different directions.
The Spirit's fourth ranked penalty kill was perfect in the Firebirds' four man-power advantages. Saginaw has killed penalties at an 80.8% clip through 49 games this season.
Dexter, Michigan native D.J. Busdeker scored the Spirit's sixth shorthanded goal of the season as a team in the first period Friday night. Saginaw's alternate captain has been strong of late with eight points in as many games.
With the Busdeker goal, the Firebirds have now allowed 18 short handed goals this season, seven more than any other OHL team. Flint's conversion rate on the man-power advantage is at a league-worst 14.2%.
Saginaw's power play was held scoreless Friday for the first time in five games. Despite going zero-for-four against the Firebirds, the Spirit is seventh in the OHL with a 24.7% conversion rate.
Arizona Coyotes prospect Ivan Prosvetov earned third star honors with the 33-save victory. With the win, the Russian goaltender tied London Knights' Joseph Raaymakers for fourth in the OHL in victories.
Standout rookie Cole Perfetti comes into the game riding a three-game point streak after converting on a penalty shot early in the first period Friday. With that goal, Perfetti set the franchise mark for goals in a single season for rookies in their 16-year old season. The Whitby, Ontario native has two goals and two assists in the past three games.
Perfetti, a 2018 first round pick of the Spirit, is top-five among OHL rookies in goals, assists, and points.
New York Islanders signed prospect Bode Wilde added his team-leading 38th assist in Friday's victory over Flint. Wilde is third among OHL defensemen with 51 points in just 43 games.
Wilde, the 41st overall pick of the Islanders, has eight points in five games against the Firebirds this season.
Saginaw Spirit leading scorer Cole Coskey has been strong against Flint this season with nine points in six games. Coskey, one of the OHL's hottest free agents, had a team best six points against the Firebirds back on January 2. The right-winger is the only Saginaw Spirit player in the top-20 in the OHL with 58 points.
Edmonton Oilers 2018 second round pick Ryan McLeod was held scoreless for just the second time since being acquired by the Spirit. The former Flint Firebirds first round pick has 48 points in 44 games this season.
The Firebirds recently welcomed back Arizona Coyotes prospect Dennis Busby from injury January 10. Busby missed much of the past two seasons with an injured clavicle after a strong rookie season with Flint.
Leading Flint with 51 points this season is Dallas Stars 13th overall pick Ty Dellandrea. The center was the first Flint Firebird drafted in the first round of the NHL draft.
2019 NHL Draft prospect Ethan Keppen notched his 18th goal of the season in the 4-2 loss to the Spirit. Keppen has five goals against Saginaw in six games this season.
Two players on Flint's roster has been drafted by NHL teams, forward Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars-signed) and defenseman Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes).
The Spirit have eight players with rights owned by NHL clubs, forwards Brady Gilmour (Detroit Red Wings), Blade Jenkins (New York Islanders), Owen Tippett (Florida Panthers-signed), Ryan McLeod (Edmonton Oilers), Damien Giroux (Minnesota Wild), defensemen Reilly Webb (Detroit Red Wings), Bode Wilde (New York Islanders-signed), and goaltender Ivan Prosvetov (Arizona Coyotes).
Images from this story
The Dow Event Center, home of the Saginaw Spirit
• Discuss this story on the Ontario Hockey League message board...
Ontario Hockey League Stories from February 2, 2019
- Firebirds Unable to Prevail in Back-And-Forth Thriller in Saginaw - Flint Firebirds
- $80,811.11 Raised in Tenth Annual Petes Pink in the Rink Game - Peterborough Petes
- Spirit Sweep Home-And-Home Series with Flint in Front of a Sellout Crowd in Saginaw - Saginaw Spirit
- 67's Beat IceDogs 6-1 for 8th-Straight Win - Ottawa 67's
- Rangers Edged by Knights, 4-2 - Kitchener Rangers
- IceDogs 8-Game Win Streak Snapped in Ottawa - Niagara IceDogs
- Bulldogs Lose 8-7 to Erie - Hamilton Bulldogs
- Otters Top Bulldogs in 8-7 Thriller - Erie Otters
- Preview: Spirit Face Firebirds for 12th Annual Shocks and Saves Night in Saginaw - Saginaw Spirit
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.