The Saginaw Spirit (1-7-1-1) continues its ride on the struggle bus, and the most notable issue remains to be special teams. They were 0 for 8 on the power play in a 5-1 loss to the defending Memorial Cup Champion London Knights (6-2-1-1) at Budweiser Gardens in London, ON. tonight.
The Spirit have only managed to score on the power play in 1 of its 10 games this season, when it converted 2 of 3 chances (on the power play) back on Oct. 6 in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Peterborough Pete's.
Saginaw is a dismal 0 for 32 in its 9 other contests, which puts its power play ranking dead last in the OHL at 2 for 35, or a 5.7% completion rate. The Spirit also rank dead last in the OHL on the penalty kill allowing 13 goals in 41 PK situations.
Bloomfield Hills, MI native Sam Miletic (4) would give London a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission with two first period goals; the first coming at 3:34 of the first period and his second of the night at the 13:47 mark.
It's not like the effort wasn't there for the Spirit, with the exception of an early Max Jones (4) goal, they actually dominated the second period, out shooting London 16-4, however, at times it seemed there was an invisible force-shield covering the goal.
Jones (a first round pick of the Anaheim Ducks, 24 overall, in the 2016 NHL draft) extended the lead to 3-0 with his fourth goal of the season at 4:31 of the second period.
The Spirit also out shot the Knights in the third period (by a 15-12 margin) but when each player is dreadfully aware of the power play situation facing their team, the pressure to convert makes it that much harder to score.
Of course, it should also be noted that London goal tender Tyler Johnson played a great game stopping 37 of the 38 shots the Spirit threw at him.
With just 14 seconds remaining in the second period, forward Tye Felhaber (3) put the Spirit on the board with his third goal of the season from Markus Neimelainen and Filip Hronek making it a 3-1 game at 19:46 of the second period.
The Knights, however, would put the game out of reach with two more goals in the final period. Jones (5) added his second goal of the night just 12 seconds into the period and J.J. Piccinich (5) scored his fifth of the season at 9:06 of the third period.
Spirit goal tender Evan Cormier turned away 23 of the 28 shots he would face between the pipes tonight.
The Spirit will try to get things going in a positive direction when it hosts the Kingston Frontenacs (4-5-1-0) for a 7:05 pm face off at the Dow Event Center tomorrow night. The Spirit played the Frontenacs pretty close back on Oct. 7 in a hard fought 5-3 loss at the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston, ON.