Recently signed goal tender Marshall Frappier led the Saginaw Spirit (2-2-1-0) to its first home win of the season with a 3-0 shutout victory over the Niagara Ice Dogs (2-1-1-1) at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw, MI Sunday afternoon.
Saginaw head coach Chris Lazary could not have been happier for his new goal tender, who stopped all of the 26-shots he faced in net for the Spirit; who are the third different team he's played with since the 2017 Ontario Hockey League season.
“It's exciting for a kid like that,” Lazary said of Frappier. “He gets waived through the league, then all of a sudden something weird happens in hockey and he gets an opportunity here. He comes in and he's just steady, does his thing and doesn't try to do too much. I thought it was one of those things -which makes this league fun to coach in- you see these kids and with something like that, it's something he'll remember for the rest of his life.”
Lazary and the coaching staff met with the veteran leader's early Sunday to talk about what needed to change following a lackluster effort in a 6-4 loss to the Soo on Saturday night.
“We believe our team is a skilled group and we believe we're good enough to win a lot of games in this league, but we just weren't working hard enough, we weren't detailed enough,” Lazary said. “We met with our guys today, all of the returning players from last year, in a separate meeting, and then with the group as a whole and just laid out exactly what we need to do. We challenged our guys in a positive way, but our group wants it, they just have to find their way. It really does just start with hard work and the small things and everything else just falls into line.”
The Spirit cranked up the team defense in the middle frame, holding the Ice Dogs to just 5-second period shots, followed by just 7-shots in the third period.
With the game scoreless midway through the second, Saginaw rookie defenseman Roberto Mancini (1) scored what would turn out to be the game winning goal when he pinched in from the right point and re-directed a Cole Perfetti shot with an additional assist coming from D.J. Busdeker for Mancini's first career OHL goal and a 1-0 Spirit lead at 9:42 of the second period.
Spirit veteran forward Cole Coskey (4) followed with an insurance goal with assists coming from Nicholas Porco and D.J. King for a 2-0 lead at 15:26 of the third period, while Perfetti (1) tacked on an empty net goal with an assist from Ilya Solovyov for a 3-0 lead to round out the scoring at the 19:58 mark.
Frappier, an Ottawa, ON native making his Saginaw debut, was quick to pass along credit to his teammates after his shutout tonight.
“Going into the game, I just wanted to make the first save,” Frappier said. “But, the guys in front of me made it a lot easier for me tonight, it was a good team effort.”
The Spirit will look to make it two in a row against the Ice Dogs when they head out for a 7 pm road game at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, ON for the second game of a home and home on Thursday night.
Video of Marshall Frappier skating back onto the ice as the first star of the game against the Niagara Ice Dogs on Sunday: