After a recent Saginaw Spirit 3-game win streak came to a halt with a 4-2 loss to the 2016-17 OHL runner-up Mississauga Steelheads at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, ON last night, the Spirit (7-9-2-0) bounced back with a 5-2 victory over the defending OHL champion Erie Otters (8-9-2-0) at the Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, PA tonight.
In last night's loss, Spirit forward Danny Katic (2) scored his second goal of the season with assists from Camaryn Baber (his first OHL point) and Keaton Middleton, while Kyle Bollers (3) scored his third of the season, a shorthanded goal from recently acquired over age player Mason Kohn to round out the Spirit scoring.
Tonight, the Spirit out-shot the Otters 31-14, jumping out to an early lead when defenseman Hayden Davis (2) scored his second of the season from Cole Coskey and Daniil Vertiy for a 1-0 Spirit lead at 2:48 of the opening period.
Erie knotted the game up later in the first period when Cade Robinson (4) scored his fourth of the season at the 15:54 mark for a 1-1 tie heading into the first intermission.
First year Spirit sniper Ben Badalamenti (4) knocked the puck out of mid-air to beat Erie goal tender Anand Oberoi for his fourth goal of the season with an assist coming from Katic to give the Spirit a 2-1 lead just 3:43 into the second period.
Davis (3) who was projected to be a top tier offensive defenseman when he was the No. 1 pick (13 overall) of the Niagara Ice Dogs in the 2015 OHL priority selection draft, is now proving why Niagara made him their top pick after scoring the eventual game winner, his second of the night, from Blade Jenkins and D.J. Busdeker to give the Spirit a 3-1 lead at 7:45 of the second period.
After a too many men bench minor penalty was called on the Spirit, Busdeker picked up the puck on a shorthanded break away and was slashed from behind by Robinson, giving Busdeker a penalty shot, of which he would take full advantage, beating Oberoi, bar down, for his second goal of the season at 18:35 of the second, sending the Spirit into the second intermission with a 4-1 lead.
Busdeker (3) then opened up a 5-1 lead for the Spirit with his second goal of the night (third of the season) from Middleton and Jenkins at 4:34 of the third period.
The Otters would get a power play goal from Talyor Raddysh (a second round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, 58 overall, in the 2016 NHL draft) to make it a 5-2 game in the final seconds at the 19:46 mark of the third period.
Busdeker led the Spirit offense with 3-points (2-goals, 1-assist) followed by Davis with 2-goals and Jenkins with 2-assists.
The Spirit put a defensive stranglehold on Erie tonight, holding the Otters to just 14 shots on goal, 12 of which Spirit goal tender Evan Cormier (a fourth round pick of the New Jersey Devils in the 2016 NHL draft) turned away while in net tonight.
Saginaw is off until Friday when the team heads to Budweiser Gardens in London, ON for a 7:30 pm road game against the London Knights, before returning home to take on the Owen Sound Attack Saturday at 7:05 pm at the Dow Event Center.