There's been quite a buzz surrounding the Saginaw Spirit (25-12-2-2) since acquiring superstar Ryan Suzuki in the closing minutes of the Ontario Hockey League trade deadline Friday afternoon and nobody could be happier to welcome the Carolina Hurricanes' first round pick than Spirit forward Cole Coskey, who (with Suzuki and Cole Perfetti on Saginaw's top line) accounted for 13-points this weekend, with Coskey contributing 2-goals in a 7-4 road win over Flint Friday, before recording hat trick in a 6-5 victory over the London Knights at the Dow Event Center on Saturday evening.
"I'm lucky to have two of the best passer's in the league on my line now," Coskey said. "(Suzuki) is a great great asset to have on this team. He's an unbelievable player, one of the best in this league, so I'm obviously happy to have him on our line."
"I might have to take him to dinner or something now," Coskey added jokingly.
The Spirit jumped out to an early lead Saturday when Coskey (23) scored with assists coming from Mason Millman and Perfetti for a 1-0 lead at 11:30 of the opening frame, while Coskey (24) added an unassisted goal in the final minute of the first period at the 19:23 mark to give the Spirit a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
London battled back in the next frame when forward Connor McMichael (26) cut the Spirit lead to 2-1 just :30 seconds into the second period, which led to another Knights score when Billy Moskal (9) lit the lamp to knot the game at 2-goals apiece at the 9:59 mark, but Coskey (25) answered with his third tally of the night just 30-seconds later, with assists coming from Perfetti and Suzuki for a 3-2 Spirit lead at 10:29 of the second, before McMichael (27) tied the game at 3-goals apiece with his second of the night at 12:56 of the second period.
McMichael (27) put London back on top (4-3) early in the final frame, completing his own hat trick at 2:13 of the third, while Perfetti (23) tied the game at 4-goals apiece with an unassisted goal at the 10:17 mark, which was followed by another lead-change when Dalton Duhart (7) scored the go-ahead goal for a 5-4 Saginaw lead on a feed from Jake Goldowski at 13:55 of the third period.
Saginaw was whistled for a delay-of-game penalty with 3-1/2 minutes left in the third, prompting London coach Dale Hunter to pull goal tender Dylan Miskiw for the extra attacker, but Spirit captain Damien Giroux (29) managed to bury the shorthanded empty-net goal for a 6-4 lead at 16:35 of the third.
The Knights, however, would not "go quietly into the night," as the Spirit (with just 13-seconds elapsed from the delay-of-game infraction) picked up a kneeing penalty with just under 3-minutes to play, creating a rare 6 on 3 opportunity for London, who capitalized when defenseman Ryan Merkley (10) cut the Spirit lead to 6-5 at the 18:53 mark, before time eventually expired.
The Spirit are off until Jan 17, when they will head north on I-75 for a 7:07 pm game against the Soo Greyhounds at GFL Memorial Gardens in Sault Ste Marie, ON this Friday.