St. Catharines, ON:
The Saginaw Spirit (14-11-1-2) showed drastic improvement on the power play compared to its previous game, going a perfect 2 for 2 on the road last night, however, Saginaw's PK was not quite up to the task as the Niagara Ice Dogs (17-7-4-0) were also perfect on the power play, going 4 for 4 with the man-advantage en route to a 6-5 victory over the Spirit in an east-meets-west conference crossover matchup in front of 4,084 at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, ON Thursday night.
The Spirit managed to jump out to an early lead midway through the first frame when defenseman Bode Wilde (who recently signed an NHL entry level contract with the New York Islanders, the team which had drafted Wilde in the second round of the 2018 NHL draft this summer) scored a power play goal with assists coming from Cole Coskey and Blade Jenkins for a 1-0 Saginaw lead at 9:12 of the opening period.
Niagara answered near the end of the first when Northville, MI native Jason Robertson (an Ice Dog's over age RW who was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the second round of the 2017 NHL draft) scored a pair of back-to-back power play goals, the first of which tied the game at 1-goal apiece at the 17:00 minute mark, before adding another power play goal less than a minute-and-half later at the 18:27 mark to give the Ice Dogs a 2-1 edge heading into the first intermission.
Robertson (30) followed up with his thirtieth goal of the season to complete a rare hat trick made up of all power play goals for a 4-2 Niagara lead at 9:33 of the second period, before Robertson set up teammate Jacob Paquette (2) who scored to give the Ice Dogs a 5-2 lead at 12:29 of the second period.
The Spirit battled back later in the second period, keeping the game close once again when Blade Jenkins (9) scored his ninth of the season from Reilly Webb and Albert Michnac to cut the Niagara lead to 5-3 at 14:06 of the second period, while Perfetti (13) followed with a power play goal from Wilde and Coskey to make it a 5-4 game at the 15:26 mark.
Robertson picked up his fifth point of the night when he and former Spirit forward Kirill Maksimov assisted on a Ben Jones (12) goal for a 6-4 lead at 3:51 of the third period.
The Spirit would manage to cut the Niagara lead to 1-goal later in the third when Webb (1) scored his first of the season from Katic and Damien Giroux to make it a 6-5 game at the 8:26 mark, but that was as close as the Spirit would get tonight.
Niagara goal tender Stephen Dhillon stopped 31 of the 36 shots he saw in net for the Ice Dogs, while Spirit goal tender Ivan Prosvetov turned away 41 of the 47 shots he would see in between the pipes for Saginaw tonight.
The Spirit will look to get back on track in the second leg of this 3-game road trip with a visit to take on the Erie Otters in a 7 pm face off at the Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, PA Saturday night.