SAGINAW, Mich. – On Thursday, the Saginaw Spirit and the Hamilton Bulldogs battled at The Dow Event Center. The Spirit were looking for their fourth consecutive victory over the Bulldogs dating back to last season. In the third period, the Bulldogs scored three goals to tie the game. With 1:33 left in the game, Matthew Kreis scored on a breakaway to give the Spirit the 6-5 victory.
The Spirit were able to start the scoring in the first period. In the Spirit zone, Marcus Crawford tapped the puck to Brady Gilmour, who carried the puck into the Bulldogs zone. Gilmour took a shot from the right circle, D.J. Busdeker was at the top of the goalie crease to tip the puck over Dawson Carty’s left shoulder. The Dexter, MI native scored his fourth goal of the season and first short-handed goal. The Busdeker shorthanded tally gave the Spirit a goal with a man down in three consecutive games. At 19:58, Damien Giroux found the puck behind the Bulldogs net and sent it over to C.J. Garcia who was at the bottom of the left circle. Garcia passed the puck to an open Cole Coskey waiting at the top of the goalie crease. Coskey snuck the puck past Dawson Carty’s right pad to score his eighth goal of the season on a Spirit power play. The shots on goal in the first period favored the Spirit, 16-12 and the Spirit led, 2-0.
In the second period, both teams capitalized on many scoring opportunities. At 1:59, Cole Coskey swooped in for the shot but a Bulldog defense interfered and Coskey passed the puck to Hayden Davis who was coming into the top of the left circle. Davis took the shot but it was blocked by Dawson Carty. Brady Gilmour found himself in front of the net for the Hayden Davis rebound. Gilmour scored his 17th goal of the season to give the Spirit the three-goal advantage.
Connor Walters gathered the puck and passed it to Matt Luff in front of the net. Luff passed the puck behind him to Niki Petti who was in the hash marks, he shot it past Brendan Bonello’s right pad for the Bulldogs first goal of the game at 8:46 of the period. Shortly after, Matt Luff was slightly behind the left side of the Spirit net, he received a pass from Niki Petti and slid the puck behind Brendan Bonello. MacKenzie Entwistle also drew an assist on the play at 11:15 of the period. After two Bulldogs goals, the Spirit would put a stop to their scoring with goals of their own. Damien Giroux passed the puck to Cole Coskey in the right circle. Coskey carried the puck backhanded in front of the Bulldogs net and shot on Dawson Carty’s left side. Cole Coskey scored his second goal of the game and ninth goal of the season at 11:48 of the period. If one goal wasn’t enough, at 13:46, C.J. Garcia was carrying the puck to the net and backhanded to Hayden Hodgson who was right behind him. Hodgson scored from the hash marks to put the Spirit back in a three-goal lead. Hodgson’s goal earned him his 50th point of the season. Shots on goal in the second period favored the Bulldogs 12-6, but the Spirit led, 5-2.
In the third period, the Bulldogs were aggressive in their scoring chances. Justin Lemcke tapped the puck to Brandon Seigeon who took a shot but it bounced off of someone and back to him. Seigeon passed the puck in front of the net to Marian Studenic, who backhanded it past Brendan Bonello’s left pad. Marian Studenic scored his eighth goal of the season and first power play goal at 6:31 of the period. Closing the gap, Will Bitten shot the puck towards the net but Brendan Bonello pushed it out. Will Bitten took possession of the puck again and went for a wrap around when he got to the right side he shot the puck over Bonello for his 18th goal of the season. Michael Cramarossa assisted on the Montreal Canadiens prospect’s goal at 10:45 of the period. At 11:42, Brandon Saigeon shot from the left circle to tie the game. Assisting on the play were Luke Kutkevicius and Marian Studenic. At 18:27, right off the faceoff in the neutral zone, Matthew Kreis headed toward the Hamilton net on a breakaway, he scored the game-winning goal and his sixth goal of the season. The final shots on goal favored the Bulldogs, 34-32. The Spirit earned a 6-5 victory over Hamilton for their third consecutive win and are now two points back of the Flint Firebirds for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:
The Saginaw Spirit return to The Dow Event Center on Saturday, January 28. The puck will drop at 7:05 p.m. against the Windsor Spitfires on Mental Health Night.
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