Saginaw captures Coors Light I75 Divide Cup with 5-4 win

Saginaw Spirit
Saginaw Spirit(Eric Young/Dream Bigger Media | Eric Young/Dream Bigger Media)
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 7:13 AM EST
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - The Saginaw Spirit (25-18-2-0) captured their fourth Coors Light I75 Divide Cup after a 5-4 win over the Flint Firebirds (22-22-2-1) Wednesday, February 1, at the Dow Event Center.

Saginaw’s Zayne Parekh scored two goals 19 seconds apart in the second period to tie the game at three. Roberto Mancini and Michael Misa both scored a goal and an assist, and Tristan Lennox made 31 saves on 35 shots to secure the win for the Spirit. Tristan Bertucci scored a goal and an assist for Flint. Nathan Day played 40 minutes while made 13 saves on 18 shots, while Will Cranley occupied the goal crease for the third period and stopped all nine shots.

The game started with Saginaw striking first at 1:59. Hunter Haight started the chance by passing to Sebastien Gervais. The winger attempted a shot but hit the right goalpost. Immediately after, Gervais recovered his own rebound and scored on a wrist shot from the right side to make it 1-0 Spirit.

Zayne Parekh was called for holding at 8:04 in the first period, giving the Firebirds a powerplay chance. Saginaw was able to kill off the penalty.

Flint tied it up at 11:55 in the first frame. Riley Piercy passed to Tristan Bertucci on his right. The defenseman ripped a shot past Lennox’s pad for his fourth goal of the season.

Saginaw went down a skater after Dean Loukus took a high sticking penalty at 13:55 in the opening period. Flint could not find a way past Lennox during the chance.

Hunter Haight committed a tripping penalty at 18:35 in the opening frame, which resulted in a Flint man-advantage. The opportunity spanned between the first and second periods.

At the end of the first period, both teams managed one goal despite a nine to eight shot Flint shot lead.

Shortly after the Spirit killed off the carryover penalty, the Firebirds gained the lead just 55 seconds into the second frame. Amadeus Lombardi received the puck from Dmitry Kuzmin. The Detroit Red Wings prospect created a breakaway chance for himself, and he put the puck over Lennox’s glove for his 29th goal of the season.

Flint made it 3-1 courtesy of Braeden Kressler at 6:30 of the middle period. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect put the puck top shelf after he fell right in front of Lennox for his 21st goal of the season.

Zayne Parekh was called for holding at 8:04 in the middle frame, giving Flint another man-advantage. Flint was unable to convert on the chance.

Saginaw responded with a powerplay tally at 14:31 in the second period after Alex Bradshaw committed a tripping penalty. Zayne Parekh received a pass from Michael Misa at the point. The rookie rifled a shot past Day to make it 3-2 Flint. Roberto Mancini earned an assist on the play.

The Spirit tied the game just 19 seconds later on another Zayne Parekh goal. Sebastien Gervais started the play by passing to Roberto Mancini. Parekh received the puck next and sent a shot that deflected off a sliding Firebird defender and between Day’s legs to draw Saginaw even at 3-3.

Roberto Mancini helped Saginaw take the lead at 15:24 in the second frame. Luke McNamara won the faceoff and passed to Michael Misa. The 15-year-old gave Roberto Mancini the puck at the top of the point, and the defenseman put the puck over a falling Day to make it 4-3 Spirit.

A pair of Saginaw penalties resulted in Flint gaining a five-on-three chance with four minutes left in the middle period. With stellar defense, the Spirit held the Firebirds scoreless.

Saginaw extended their lead with 11 seconds remaining in the middle frame. Theo Hill shot the puck into net-front traffic from the right side. Michael Misa saw the pass and deflected the puck into the net for his team-leading 21st goal of the season.

At the end of the second period, the Spirit led 5-4 despite being outshot 25-18 by Flint.

The third period started with Saginaw on the man-advantage after Artem Guryev was called for slashing 65 seconds in. The Spirit could not add to their lead on the chance.

Flint brought the game within one with a goal at 10:53 in the third frame. Tristan Bertucci fired a shot from the left side and Ethan Hay deflected the puck past Lennox for his tenth goal of the season.

With time running out, the Firebirds were unable to even the score and Saginaw took a 5-4 victory despite a 35-27 shot advantage for Flint. The Spirit win the Coors I75 Divide Cup and hold a 5-2 series lead this season. With the win, Saginaw ends their eight-game losing streak and improve to 25-18-2-0 this year.

Saginaw heads on the road Friday, February 3, as they take on the London Knights at the Budweiser Gardens. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.