SAGINAW, Mich. – On Thursday night, the Saginaw Spirit (12-10-3-0) fell to the Hamilton Bulldogs (15-6-2-3) by a final score of 4-3. Saginaw led for much of the contest before allowing three unanswered goals in the third period to concede the lead to Hamilton. Spirit left wing Kyle Bollers (5), right wing Ryan Stepien (2) and right wing Cole Coskey (13) all logged goals in Thursday's loss.
During the first period, Saginaw's Bollers wasted little time in logging the game's initial goal on the opening shift, scoring the first goal for the Spirit in two straight contests. Spirit defenseman Caleb Everett set the play up with a shot from the point before Bollers and Mason Kohn battled in front of the net, leading to a Saginaw goal. Nine minutes later, the Spirit doubled their lead when right wing Ryan Stepien took a whack at a rolling puck, guiding it into the net's top right corner. Both Ben Badalamenti and Aidan Prueter earned assists on the play. For the shot count, Hamilton outshot Saginaw 12-7 in the opening period.
In the second frame, Saginaw once again struck first when Daniil Vertiy passed from left to right, finding Cole Coskey for the third goal at the 1:45 mark in the period. With the Spirit in front 3-0, Hamilton decreased the gap by one goal when Marian Studenic, a New Jersey Devils prospect, cleaned up a net-front scrum for his 8th tally of the season. The Spirit trailed the Bulldogs in second period shots, 12-9.
For the third and final stanza, the Spirit started with a 3-1 lead that first began to evaporate when Saginaw goaltender Evan Cormier turned the puck over in the neutral zone. With the Bulldogs in possession of the puck, Matthew Strome slipped a backhanded pass through the crease to Studenic for his second goal of the game. With roughly five minutes remaining in the frame, Hamilton mounted a rapid comeback when Bulldogs right wing Isaac Nurse approached the right circle and delivered a wrist shot to beat Spirit Evan Cormier. Hamilton took the lead 32 seconds later when a fortuitous rebound in front of the Spirit net found Arthur Kaliyev's stick for the game-winning goal. Hamilton outshot Saginaw by an 18-4 margin in the final period. The Spirit lost the services of defenseman Caleb Everett and right wing Cole Coskey during the game. Both players did not return. An update on their health status was unable to be given at this time.
Applebee's Three Stars of the Game
1. Marian Studenic (HAM) – 2G, +2
2. Matthew Strome (HAM) – 2A
3. Ryan Stepien (SAG) – G, +1
The Saginaw Spirit (12-10-3-0, 27 points, 4th in West Division) will host the Sarnia Sting (21-4-1-0, 43 points, 1st in West Division) at The Dow Event Center for the 11th annual Guns and Hoses charity night on Saturday, December 1st sponsored by Gohm Insurance Restoration and Mike’s Wrecker Service. The Saginaw city Firefighters take on the Saginaw County Cops at 5:00 p.m.
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