The Saginaw Spirit (18-13-3-0) scored five unanswered goals throughout the second and third periods, skating to a 6-2 victory over the Flint Firebirds (11-22-3-0) which now gives the Spirit five consecutive wins in eight meetings against Flint this year, securing Saginaw's first ever I-75 Divide Cup Series in front of 3,953 at the Dow Event Center tonight.
The Spirit jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Kyle Bollers (6) scored his sixth goal of the season from Hayden Davis and Marcus Crawford at 3:59 of the first period, before the Firebirds took control, out-shooting the Spirit 14-12 in the first period, taking a 2-1 lead into the first intermission after a goal by Kyle Harris at 13:02, followed by a power play goal from Flint forward Connor Roberts at 16:22 of the opening period.
Saginaw out-shot Flint 11-5 in the middle frame, knotting the game at 2-goals apiece in the first minute of the period when Bollers (7) buried his second of the night with assists coming from Brady Gilmour and Caleb Everett just :42 seconds into the second period.
Later in the second period, Spirit forward Cole Coskey (17) scored his seventeenth goal of the season with an assist from Blade Jenkins for a 3-2 Spirit lead at 16:02 of the second period.
The Spirit kicked off a scoring barrage in the final period when rookie forward Ryan Stepien (4) fired a wrist-shot off the left shoulder of Flint goal tender Luke Cavallin, as the puck flipped up in the air like a coin, before bouncing off of Cavallin's back and landing across the line for Stepien's fourth goal of the season with an assist from Brock Hill to extend the Spirit lead to 4-2 at 8:35 of the third period.
Just 15-seconds after the Stepien goal, Spirit forward D.J. Busdeker (6) went five-hole from the high-slot on Cavallin for his sixth goal of the season with assists from Jenkins and Davis to take a 5-2 lead at 8:50 of the third period.
Jenkins (13) who is second among OHL rookies in scoring with 27-points (13-goals, 14-assists) rounded out the Spirit goals with his thirteenth of the season from Damien Giroux for a 6-2 Spirit lead at 14:08 of the third period.
Saginaw goal tender Evan Cormier (a fourth round pick of the New Jersey Devils in the 2016 NHL draft) stopped 37 of the 39 shots he faced in net for the Spirit tonight.
The Spirit (39-points in the western conference) now have a great opportunity to close out the weekend by leap-frogging the Guelph Storm (39-points) to move into a fourth a place tie in the OHL's western conference standings with a 1:05 pm face off against the Windsor Spitfires (41-points) at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, ON tomorrow afternoon.
Highlights from Spirit 6-1 win over Flint on Nov 24, 2017 below: