2-8-20 vs. GUE

Saginaw, MI. – The Saginaw Spirit earn their 32nd victory of the season in a 3-2 overtime thriller over the Guelph Storm in front of 3,537 fans on ‘Talk Today, Hope for Tomorrow’ Mental Health Awareness Night at The Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Michigan.

North America’s fourth rated 2020 NHL Draft Prospect Cole Perfetti provided the game-winner 1:19 into overtime for his 30th goal of the season.

Spirit netminder Marshall Frappier stopped 21 Guelph Storm shots for his 17th win of the season.

A Spirit turnover at the Saginaw blueline led to a scoring opportunity from Guelph Storm leading scorer Pavel Gogolev just over a minute into the opening frame.  A Saginaw defenseman coughed up the puck to Gogolev just outside the Spirit zone and the Russian forward hit the zone on a three-on-one.  Overage defenseman Riley Webb played the pass well and forced a shot from the Guelph sniper.  The Guelph left-winger fired a wrist shot that Saginaw goaltender Marshall Frappiersnagged with his glove and held on for a whistle.

Saginaw nearly took the lead just past the half-way point of the first period off a Storm turnover in the Guelph zone.  Gogolev tried to drop a pass at the right half-wall that missed his target and went to New York Islanders prospect Cole Coskey in the Guelph slot.  The Saginaw Spirit all-time games leader Coskey tried a quick one-timer but just missed the net.

The Spirit opened the scoring 12:42 into the first period on forward Danny Katic’s 10th goal of the season.  Saginaw used the cycle behind the Guelph net where Danil Antropov dropped the puck off to Jake Goldowski.  Goldowski circled behind the net and centered a pass into the Storm slot, where Katic one-timed into the open net past the OHL’s goals against average leader Nico Daws to pull ahead, 1-0.

The Spirit took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission, after they outshot the Storm, 11-8.

A too-many-men penalty served by Josh Bloom carried over to the second period and Guelph was able to convert just after the man-power advantage expired to tie the game, 1-1.  Montreal Canadiens draft pick Cam Hillis fired a cross-ice pass to Gogolev in the left circle.  Gogolev sent a quick pass to the front of the net, where forward Keegan Stevenson tipped the puck into the open right side of the net just 57 seconds into the second period.

After an interference penalty to Guelph’s Eric Uba, the Storm scored while shorthanded to take a 2-1 lead 3:11 into the second period on Jacob Roach’s 11th goal of the season.  Saginaw turned the puck over in the Guelph zone and Washington Capitals prospect Martin Has led Roach with an up-ice pass to spring Roach on a breakaway.  The Guelph centerman Ralph fired a shot from the right hashmark that just beat Frappier’s glove to give the Storm the lead.

While still on the power play, Coskey nearly tied the game just past the four-minute mark of the second period.  Coskey deked and toe-dragged around two Guelph players at the Storm blueline, then split the defense to rush towards the goaltender Daws.  The New York Islanders prospect tied a deke to the forehand but the puck rolled off the end of his stick wide of the Storm net.

After a cross-checking penalty to Minnesota Wild prospect Fedor Gordeev, Saginaw’s power play woes were erased 8:42 into the second period with a powerplay goal from captain Damien Giroux. Cole Perfetti circled around the back of Guelph’s net and sent a pass for Coskey to one-time from the right circle.  Coskey’s shot ricocheted off Minnesota Wild draft pick Giroux’s foot into the net for the forward’s team-leading 32nd goal of the season.

Saginaw had a 24-14 shot advantage through two periods but the teams were tied as they went into the second intermission.

Cole Coskey had an opportunity to notch his 100th career OHL goal early in the third frame on a nice passing play.  Perfetti dropped a pass off to Carolina Hurricanes first round pick Ryan Suzuki, who centered a pass to Coskey high in the Guelph slot.  The right-winger Coskey fired a snapshot that was tipped over the net by overage defenseman Josh Wainman.

Just past the six-minute point of the third period Saginaw, Michigan native Mitchell Smith clanked a point shot off the post.  As the stopped in the crease behind the goaltender Daws, Perfetti poked his stick at the puck but it just floated wide of the net.

Guelph nearly took the lead with just over eight minutes left in regulation on a redirection from the Saginaw slot.  Martin Has received a pass at the right point and used a shot pass towards the Saginaw slot.  Pavel Gogolev redirected the pass towards the net that Frappier had to reach back against his slide to deny the shot with a glove save.

Neither team was able to find the back of the net before regulation and the game went into overtime.

Just 1:19 into overtime, Cole Perfetti tallied his 30th goal of the season to give Saginaw the 3-2 overtime victory.  Ryan Suzuki gained control in the Spirit zone and flipped the puck into the neutral zone.  Perfetti caught up to the puck and flew into the Guelph zone on a breakaway.  The Saginaw forward faked a shot, deked to the backhand, and flipped the puck over Storm netminder Daws’ outstretched glove into the back of the net.

Applebee’s Three Stars of the Game:

1.       Cole Perfetti (SAG) GWG, A

2.      Marshall Frappier (SAG) W, 21 SVS

3.      Nico Daws (GUE) 29 SVS

The Saginaw Spirit hit the road to take on the West Division rival Soo Greyhounds Wednesday, February 12 from the GFL Memorial Gardens in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.  Puck drop for the seventh of eight regular season meetings between the heated rivals begins at 7:07 p.m.  Through six games this season, the Spirit have been victorious in the last five contests against the Greyhounds since the team dropped the first game of the season.

Fans can catch all the action on the flagship WSGW Newsradio 100.5 FM and www.wsgw.com with the voice of Saginaw Spirit hockey Joey Battaino on the call.  “Countdown to Face-off” begins 15 minutes prior to puck drop.

Fans can visit the Buffalo Wild Wings location at 2690 Tittabawassee Road in Saginaw and join the official “Watch Party” for all Spirit away games. Admission is free of charge.

The Spirit can clinch their third straight Coors Light I-75 Divide Rivalry Friday, February 14 when they host the in-state rival Flint Firebirds to kick-off Ice Blast Weekend at The Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Michigan.  Saginaw holds a 4-2-0-0 edge on the season series against the West Division foe Flint Firebirds.  Puck drop for the seventh meeting of the season begins at 7:05 p.m.

As a part of Ice Blast Weekend, Friday, February 14 marks the return of former Saginaw Spirit captain Paul ‘Biz Nasty’ Bissonnette to The Dow Event Center.  The former NHLer and co-host of popular Barstool Podcast “Spittin’ Chiclets” will be signing autographs for fans in the Budweiser Red Room prior to the game against the Firebirds.  Also in the Budweiser Red Room, kids will have the opportunity to meet Buzz and Woody from Toy Story before the game.

Ice Blast Weekend continues Saturday, February 15 when the Saginaw Spirit host the Kitchener Rangers for Credit Union Night at The Dow.  Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Kronwall will be signing autographs in the Budweiser Red Room between 5:30 and 7:00 p.m.

To purchase tickets to any Saginaw Spirit home game call (989) 497-7747, visit www.saginawspirit.com, or visit the Saginaw Spirit Store at 5789 State Street, Saginaw MI.

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Saginaw Spirit Hockey contributor

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