Spirit Host Otters, Honor Radio Personality Art Lewis Saturday Night at the Dow
Saginaw, MI - Before the Saginaw Spirit get set for five consecutive games on the road over the next two weeks, they'll wrap up a three-game home stand at The Dow Event Center this weekend.
Returning to action following a seven-day absence, it's the first time the Spirit had a week off since the first half of the regular-season, having finished a five-game schedule over a span of 10 days.
From the conclusion of the holiday break to now, Saginaw has won eight of the last nine games, coming away just one game shy of tying the all-time record for most consecutive wins in last Friday's 4-1 road loss to the London Knights. In the fallout of the loss on a back-to-back, the Spirit took their second of an eight-game series against the Windsor Spitfires at home Saturday in a 6-3 final.
Their recent success on the ice has the Spirit remaining in third place in the OHL Western Conference standings at 56 points, just five back of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for the West Division lead.
First up in visiting The Dow is the Erie Otters tonight with puck drop set for 7:05 p.m., then the Spitfires again at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow.
Broadcast, Promotional & Ticket Info
Listen live on OHLLive.com, the flagship WSGW 100.5 FM Talk & Sports and fmtalk1005.com with Joey Battaino and Dennis Desrosiers. "Countdown to Faceoff" with host Domenic Papa starts 15 minutes before puck drop.
Long-time radio talk show host Art Lewis will be honored by the Spirit during the ceremonial puck drop. Lewis, whose career began in 1965, currently is part of the WSGW 100.5 FM Morning Team in Saginaw, hosting "The Art Lewis Show" every Monday-Saturday at 9:00-10:00 a.m. Lewis also regularly conducts the public address announcer duties for Spirit games throughout the regular-season.
To purchase your tickets for all Saginaw home games, call (989) 497-7747, visit saginawspirit.com, or by visiting the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw, MI.
Last Time Out
The Spirit scored four unanswered en route to a six-goal outing against Windsor, as 2018 New York Islanders second-round (41st overall) draft pick Bode Wilde and veteran Cole Coskey earned first and second-star honors, respectively.
The pair combined for six points on two goals and four assists. Coskey, who was featured on the official Spirit website this week, passed Mitchell Stephens for 14th all-time in team history in career goals (64).
Rookie goaltender Tristan Lennox got the start in his seventh appearance this season, making 31 saves for his third win since being drafted in the second-round (26th overall) in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. Saturday was Lennox's return in net following a 23-save shutout on December 30 against the Flint Firebirds.
Windsor pulled to within two goals twice before Coskey secured the win with an empty netter in the final two minutes of the third period. Saginaw's last win over its West Division rival this year came on December 14.
Under the guidance of head coach Chris Lazary, who took the reins on November 22, the Spirit have gone 16-3-1-1.
As the reigning OHL Defenseman of the Month for December, Wilde has accounted for at least one point in 10 of the last 12 games and notched three or more points in three games, including a goal and three assist outing on December 15 against the Sarnia Sting.
Wilde, who is one-of-two players on Saginaw's roster along with Owen Tippett to have signed an entry-level NHL contract, is ranked in the top-three among league defenseman in goals (11), assists (34) and points (45).
Tippett has played in five games for the Spirit since being acquired from the Mississauga Steelheads before the trade deadline.
Behind only Coskey on the team in total goals this season (21), Tippett has recorded two goals and three assists during those five games. The 2017 first-round (10th overall) selection by the Florida Panthers was recently named 40th on TSN Hockey's Top 50 NHL-affiliated prospects list this week.
Through 42 games, Coskey, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound forward, is first on the team in goals (23) and points (51), as well as third in assists (28).
In a span of 10 games from November 29-January 5, Coskey recorded 23 total points on 10 goals and 13 assists. It was the second-highest point streak registered by a Spirit this year as overager Albert Michnac earlier finished out at 13 consecutive games.
McLeod's point steak in his short time with the Spirit now stands at five games, having joined Tippett in the move to the United States earlier this month. On two goals and four assists, McLeod made his debut on January 5 and registered two assists against the Kitchener Rangers.
McLeod, a native of Mississauga, Ontario, was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the second-round (40th overall) in 2018. The 19-year-old forward is second on the team in assists (30) and third in points (45).
When Saginaw begin its second half regular-season run on December 28, Michnac, the overage forward, has produced six points after going seven consecutive games with at least one point. Michnac received first-star honors with his two goals in the win at home over Kitchener.
2018 OHL Priority Selection first-round (5th overall) choice Cole Perfetti remains in the top-five among league rookies in goals (17), assists (18) and points (35). Perfetti would score late in the first period on Saturday for his second in five games.
Obtaining two assists on Saturday for 23 on the season was New York Islanders prospect Blade Jenkins, who's now one-of-four Spirit players to surpass the 40-point mark this season. Taken in the fifth-round and 134th overall, Jenkins has seen a surge in offensive production since the position change to center, having scored 18 total points from December 1-January 2.
Lennox commands a goals against average (GAA) of 2.48 with a 0.907 save percentage (SAV%), compiling a record of 3-1-1-1 and averaging 36.5 saves made per game.
Russian-born goaltender Ivan Prosvetov ranks second for most shutouts (3) and third in wins (21) across the entire OHL. Drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in 2018 in the fourth-round (114th overall), Prosvetov had his eight-game win streak erased at London but was named the CHL Goaltender of the Week after stopping 54 shots without a goal allowed on January 6 against the Sudbury Wolves.
On special teams, the Spirit scored two power play goals on Saturday to have the league's fifth-best man-up unit with 36 total goals for a 24.7 percent success rate this season. The penalty kill is also ranked fifth with 27 goals allowed for an 81.4 percent success rate.
Erie Scouting Report
The Otters will make their second visit to Saginaw in three weeks, looking to erase a three-game setback, which includes Friday's 3-2 road loss to Sarnia.
Despite being outside of the top-eight in the Western Conference at 38 points, Erie is just three behind Kitchener for that final playoff spot. At 18 wins, 24 losses, one overtime loss and one shootout loss, the Otters have lost all three games played against Saginaw this season.
It's been less than two weeks since Erie traded away their former overage captain, Kyle Maksimovich, to the Ottawa 67's before the deadline. In an effort towards retooling for the future, the Otters acquired 2017 Minnesota Wild fifth-round (147th overall) draft pick Jacob Golden from the London Knights.
Golden has appeared in five games with the Otters this season after notching four goals and 22 assists for 26 points in 140 career games with London.
As the leader for Erie in all three major scoring categories, former 2016 first-round (56th overall) OHL Import Draft choice Gera Poddubnyi has scored 43 points on 19 goals and 24 assists.
Starting goaltender Daniel Murphy is 17-17-1-1 this season with a goals against average (GAA) of 3.69 with a 0.880 save percentage (SAV%).
On special teams, Erie is ranked 16th in the OHL on the power play this season with 28 goals scored for a 18.1 percent success rate. The Otters have the league's worst best man-down unit with 48 goals allowed for an 66.4 percent success rate.
Featured NHL Prospects
There will be a combined nine players on the ice Saturday with their rights owned by NHL teams. For the Otters, it'll be Golden (Minnesota).
Defenseman Reilly Webb (Detroit), captain Damien Giroux (Minnesota), forward Brady Gilmour (Detroit), McLeod (Edmonton), Tippett (Florida), Prosvetov (Arizona), Jenkins (NY Islanders) and Wilde (NY Islanders) and will represent Saginaw.
The first-of-five straight road games for the Spirit begins next Thursday, January, 24, at the Peterborough Memorial Centre against the Peterborough Petes.
Thursday will mark the first of a two-game regular-season series between the two clubs, who'll meet again on March 3 at The Dow. In the last eight games since 2013-14, Saginaw has gone 4-3-0-1.
Peterborough sits right in the middle of the pack in the OHL Eastern Conference Standings at 46 points, but is just three points back from the eighth seed and seven from being completely out of the postseason picture.
At 22 wins, 19 losses, one overtime loss and one shootout loss, the Petes have endured a four-game winless streak, with their most recent loss coming against the 67's on Friday in a 4-0 final.
In 11 games played since being traded from the Guelph Storm, 2018 San Jose Sharks first-round (18th overall) draft pick Ryan Merkley leads the team in assists (41) and points (47). Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Christopher Paquette holds the highest goals total (18) and is fifth in points (30).
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- Preview: Firebirds Face Niagara in Front of Expected Sellout Crowd Saturday - Flint Firebirds
- Spirit Hire Darren Rumble as Assistant Coach - Saginaw Spirit
- Spirit Host Otters, Honor Radio Personality Art Lewis Saturday Night at the Dow - Saginaw Spirit
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