Despite losing the past five games, including a recent 4-1 loss to the Soo Greyhounds (51-6-2-2) on Wednesday night, the Saginaw Spirit (27-25-8-0) are in position to clinch its 12th playoff berth in the last 13 years.
A Spirit win at the Dow Event Center over the Windsor Spitfires (28-27-3-2) tomorrow night, coupled with a loss (in either regulation or OT) by the Erie Otters (20-31-7-3) who host the Peterborough Petes at the Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, PA tomorrow night will clinch a playoff spot for Saginaw.
The Spirit (tied for sixth place with 62-points in the OHL's western conference standings) currently hold a 12-point lead over the Otters (ninth place with 50-points in the OHL's western conference standings) who have just seven games remaining in the 2017-18 OHL regular season.
Although highly unlikely, Saginaw would have to lose all 8 of its remaining games, while Erie would have to win-out in all of its final 7-games in order to knock Saginaw out of a playoff spot.
If the playoffs started today, the Spirit (with the No. 6 seed) would take on the Sarnia Sting (currently the No. 3 seed with 88-points) in the first round.
Sarnia's 88-points are the second most in the western conference standings behind the Soo (104-points) however, the Sting, despite having the second most points and the second best record in the conference, drop to the No. 3 seed in the playoff race behind Kitchener (40-19-2-0) who claim the No. 2 seed (with 82-points) as the first place team in its (midwest) division.
The Soo (first place in the west division) and Kitchener (first place in the midwest division) represent the top two playoff seeds as the respective division leaders in the OHL's western conference standings.
Nobody in Saginaw will be complaining too much about having to face Sarnia as opposed to Kitchener in the first round, as the Spirit are an even 3-3 against the Sting in head-to-head matchup's this year; whereas, the Spirit have yet to beat the Rangers, losing all 3-games against Kitchener this year.
With 8-games left in the regular season, the Spirit (62-points) are currently in a sixth place tie with the Guelph Storm (27-25-4-4) after the Storm (62-points) earned 1-point in the standings following a 6-5 OT loss to the Flint Firebirds earlier tonight.
Tomorrow evening's home game against Windsor (59-points) will determine if the Spirit can re-take sole possession of the No. 6 seed, or drop to the No. 7 seed ahead of the Spitfires in the western conference playoff race.
Saginaw will be wearing special jersey's when Rescue Ministries of Mid Michigan host's the 7th annual 'Hockey for the Homeless' game, with the Puck dropping at 7:05 pm tomorrow night as the Spirit host the Spitfires at the Dow Event Center.