The Saginaw Spirit (9-9-3-0) have gotten to .500 in the OHL standings for the first time this season after scoring 1-goal in the opening period, while adding another 2-goals in the middle frame for a 3-1 victory over the Erie Otters (9-11-2-1) at the Dow Event Center tonight.
Spirit GM Dave Drinkill traded for veteran forward Mason Kohn
the day after a 5-3 victory over the Flint Firebirds (back on Nov. 1) and coincidentally, Saginaw has also won 6 of its last 8 games (5 of 7 with Kohn) this month, collecting 13 of a possible 16 points during in that span, which Spirit head coach Troy Smith (at least partially) attributes to the trade for Kohn.
“I think it's two-fold,” Smith said of Saginaw's recent success. “We play a full sixty minutes most night's and I really believe the addition of Mason Kohn has done wonders for our younger guys. The ability to watch a player who plays the right way, and who just really leads by example.”
The Spirit jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Cole Coskey (11) beat Erie goal tender Troy Timpano with a short-side wrist shot for his eleventh goal of the season, with an assist from Max Grondin at 5:03 of the opening period, before Erie forward Patrick Fellows (4) tied the game at the 11:33 mark for a 1-1 tie heading into the first intermission.
Saginaw goal tender Evan Cormier (a fourth round pick of the New Jersey Devils in the 2016 NHL draft) was stellar in goal for the Spirit, shutting down the Otters with a 33-save performance, as Kohn (6) managed to put the Spirit ahead (2-1) with a power play goal (the eventual game-winner) with assists coming from Cole Coskey and Marcus Crawford at 3:27 of the second period.
Cormier has watched Kohn morph into a goal-scoring leader from his first game in a Spirit sweater, a 6-5 OT victory over the London Knights on Nov. 3, at Budweiser Gardens, where he scored 1-goal, then set up Brady Gilmour with an assist on the OT game-winner.
Prior to joining the Spirit, Kohn (a native of Davie, FL) had just 5-points (1-goal, 4-assists) in 10-games with the Oshawa Generals, however, Kohn now has 7-points (5-goals, 2-assists) in his last 7-games with the Spirit.
“He's a great leader who came in and led by example from his first game in London,” Cormier said of Kohn. “He's a big part of our team and he's really doing well for us right now, and hopefully, we can keep this train rolling.”
Spirit rookie Blade Jenkins (8) jumped up to No. 4 on the list of OHL scoring leaders among rookies with his eighth goal of the season from Brock Hill and D.J. Busdeker for a 3-1 lead at 13:59 of the second period.
With the win, the Spirit (21 points) move into eighth place in the western conference standings; trailing seventh place London (22 points) by just 1-point and sixth place Guelph (23 points) by 2-points.
The Spirit will be looking for another I-75 Divide Cup win against the Flint Firebirds with a 7 pm visit to the Dort Federal Event Center in downtown Flint, MI on Wed. evening.