SAGINAW, MI. – On Sunday night, the Saginaw Spirit (27-24-8-0) began a four-game homestand with a contest against the Oshawa Generals (30-26-3-0) at The Dow Event Center. Spirit goaltender Evan Cormier was tested early and often as the Generals manufactured 39 shots on the night with Cormier stymieing 37 such chances. Neither team scored for the first 39 minutes before Generals captain Jack Studnicka scored on an Oshawa breakaway with 58 seconds remaining in the second period. Oshawa later deposited an empty net goal to secure two points in their 2-0 victory.
In the initial period, both goaltenders led their respective teams to a clean sheet through 20 minutes, though each side had a handful of chances. Early on, Spirit netminder Cormier exhibited a timely kick save in thwarting an Oshawa breakaway. Immediately following the save, Blade Jenkins led a Spirit rush in the opposite direction, although the rookie forward did not light the lamp. In the final five minutes of the period, D.J. Busdeker ripped a one-time from near the left faceoff dot in what was a quality scoring chance for Saginaw in a scoreless period. Oshawa managed to outshoot Saginaw by a 14-4 margin in the first frame.
During the second frame, both teams had plentiful opportunities to sharpen their powerplay units with a total of 12 penalty minutes in the period. Following an early Spirit rush, Mason Kohn sagged behind to create space among the Oshawa defense. Kohn put the puck on net but could not break onto the scoresheet. With 2:40 remaining in the frame, a scrum broke out, sending Damien Giroux and Oshawa's Brendan Harrogate to the penalty box with matching minors. As a result, the Generals were able to funnel the puck down ice with a lengthy breakout pace to center Studnicka, who promptly slipped the puck between Cormier's legs, bringing Oshawa to the break with a 1-0 lead. The Generals maintained a 10-shot edge as both squads logged 10 shots in the period.
In the final stanza, the Spirit hit the ice looking to climb back into the one-goal game. With 5:00 remaining onward, Saginaw generated numerous scoring chances and continued to apply pressure in the offensive zone with an extra attacker for the final two minutes. Unfortunately, the Generals added another goal to make the final score 2-0 when Kenny Huether scored an empty netter, his 28th goal of the season. In the last period, the Generals outshot the Spirit 39-26.
Applebee's Three Stars of the Game
1. Kyle Keyser (OSH) – W, SO, 27 saves
2. Evan Cormier (SAG) – 37 saves
3. Jack Studnicka (OSH) – G, +2
The Saginaw Spirit (27-24-8-0, 62 points, 3rd in West Division) have another home game on the docket set for Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 at The Dow Event Center. The Spirit are set to face the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (49-6-2-2) in a West Division bout. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m.
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