The Saginaw Spirit (27-12-2-2) have now won 9 of its last 10 games after cruising to a convincing 6-2 victory over the Erie Otters (18-25-1-1) in front of 3,022 at the Dow Event Center in downtown Saginaw tonight.
The Spirit jumped out to an early lead midway through opening frame when Blade Jenkins found Owen Tippett (22) with a beautiful stretch pass, allowing Tippett to sneak behind two Otters defenders, beating Erie goal tender Daniel Murphy with a pinpoint snap shot stickside low for a 1-0 Spirit lead at 9:41 of the first period, while Cole Coskey (24) followed with his twenty-fourth goal of the year from Ryan McCleod and Hayden Davis for a 2-0 lead at the 13:31 mark, before Spirit defenseman Reagan O'Grady (6) extended the lead, scoring his sixth of the season with assists from Cole Perfetti and Tippett at 14:56 of the first to give the Spirit a comfortable 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Saginaw forward Jake Goldowski (8) would stretch the Spirit lead to 4-0 midway through the middle frame with his eighth tally of the season with assists coming from D.J. Busdeker and Danny Katic at 10:20 of the second, while Spirit captain Damien Giroux (17) proved why he's the hardest working forward in the OHL when his relentless fore-checking on the penalty kill resulted in Giroux stealing the puck from an Erie defenseman behind the Otters net, then beating Murphy with a deke to score an unassisted shorthanded goal for a 5-0 Saginaw lead at 15:46 of the second period.
The Otters managed to take advantage of a Spirit 'too many men' penalty near the end of the middle frame when Danial Singer (14) scored the power play goal to cut the Spirit lead to 5-1 at 19:44 of the second period.
Goldowski, who was not awarded an assist, but was entirely responsible for the next play when he flashed his deceptive speed early in the final period, out-striding a pair of Erie skaters and drawing Murphy out of the net to play the puck, which initially stopped Goldowski's breakaway, however, Busdeker somehow managed to retrieve the puck from Murphy, finding a wide open Katic (6) who scored on the open net for a 6-1 Saginaw lead at 4:41 of the third, while Otters forward Daniel D'Amato (3) scored the game's final goal to make it a 6-2 contest at 13:08 of the third period.
Murphy played very well in net for the Otters, preventing even more of a blowout with a 42-save effort by stopping 42 of the 48 Spirit shots he saw, while Saginaw goal tender Ivan Prosvetov continues to be one of the top netminder's in the OHL, turning away 28 of the 30 shots he would face tonight.
The Spirit will be right back here at the Dow for a 5:30 pm face off against the Windsor Spitfires tomorrow afternoon.