Preview: Spirit Open 2019-20 Regular Season in Kitchener Friday
Kitchener, ON - The defending West Division Champion and No. 7-ranked Saginaw Spirit open the 2019-20 Ontario Hockey League season on the road against the Kitchener Rangers Friday, September 20. Puck drop from the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium is set 7:30 p.m. The Spirit was victorious in three of the four meetings last season with the Rangers, and knocked off Kitchener 7-2 in their 2019 Preseason matchup.
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.
2020 NHL Draft top-prospect Cole Perfetti had the most successful 16-year old season as a rookie in Saginaw Spirit team-history last season. The Whitby, Ontario native led all OHL rookies with 37 goals and 74 points last season.
Perfetti exploded in the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup prior to this season for Team Canada. The Spirit center scored a record-setting seven goals in the tournament, which included a five-goal performance in the Semi-final game against Team Sweden.
16-year old goaltender Tristan Lennox also had a successful Hlinka Gretzky Cup showing for Team Canada. The Spirit netminder led the tournament in both goals against average (.950) and save percentage (.951).
Several NHL prospects have been returned to the Saginaw Spirit prior to the start of the regular season. New York Islanders prospects Cole Coskey and Blade Jenkins will join the Spirit for the start of the season.
Coskey, a 7th round pick of the Islanders in 2019, scored 31 goals and 32 assists for 63 points for the Spirit in just 52 games last season. The right-winger's 1.21 points-per-game was second on the team during the regular season.
Jenkins increased his point output from the 2017-18 season by 15 points in one-less game played. The Jackson, Michigan native set career marks in goals (23), assists (36), and points (59) in 2018-19.
2018 Minnesota Wild fifth-round pick Damien Giroux was returned to the Spirit line-up earlier this week. The Saginaw Spirit captain notched 30 goals in the 2018-19 campaign, 3 more than his two previous seasons for the Spirit.
The Spirit acquired Ypsilanti, Michigan native Nick Donofrio Thursday via trade with the Hamilton Bulldogs for a 15th round pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection Draft. Donofrio gives Saginaw depth at the goaltending position along with Lennox and Carter Tahk, while Arizona Coyotes signee Ivan Prosvetov remains with the NHL club.
The Rangers acquired former Guelph Storm forward Liam Hawel prior to the season. Hawel collected three assists against the Spirit in the Western Conference Finals series last postseason.
2018 Dallas Stars fifth round pick Riley Damiani was returned to Kitchener for the start of the season. The Mississauga, Ontario native exploded last season with 85 points, which was 48-more points than his previous career-high.
Donovan Sebrango leads the Kitchener Rangers backend after a successful rookie season. The 2018 Kitchener Rangers second round pick tied for first among rookie defensemen with seven goals and finished third with 26 points.
The Rangers solidified their goaltending situation with the acquisition of Jacob Ingham from the Mississauga Steelheads in June. The Los Angeles Kings sixth round pick in 2018 appeared in 52 games last season, posting a 27-25-2-2 record, with a 3.41 goals against average and a .890 save percentage. With potential overage player Luke Richardson leaving for University one year early, 19 year-old Lucas Pfeil will back up Ingham in the Ranger net this season.
The 2019-20 Saginaw Spirit home opener is Saturday, September 21 against the in-state rival, Flint Firebirds. The game marks the return of the I-75 Divide Rivalry presented by Coors Light. Puck drop between the West Division foes begins at 7:05 p.m. from The Dow Event Center.
The Spirit are asking fans to arrive early to witness the unveiling of the 2019 West Division Championship in the rafters of The Dow Event Center. The first 2,000 fans in attendance receive a mini 2019 West Division Championship banner courtesy of HAP.
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.
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Ontario Hockey League Stories from September 20, 2019
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- Preview: Spirit Open 2019-20 Regular Season in Kitchener Friday - Saginaw Spirit
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