The Saginaw Spirit delivered a statement with a dominating 10-3 victory over the visiting Ottawa (Ontario) 67s in front of 3,085 fans Saturday December, 1 at the Dow Event Center.
The Spirit coaches decided to give goalie, Jake Paterson (Detroit Red Wings third round draft pick, 80 overall in the 2012 NHL draft) the night off. Paterson –who leads the OHL with the best goals against average- took the rare night off to give Spirit rookie, Nikita Serebryakov some valuable playing time in net. The sixteen year old Moscow, Russia native would not disappoint again, as he earned his second win of the season in just his second consecutive start at the Dow Event Center. A week ago on November, 24 at the Dow, Serebryakov turned away 32-of the-33 shots he faced against the Kingston Frontenacs, leading his team to a 2-1 victory; which turned out to be his first career OHL win.
Ottawa jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with the help of a couple bad breaks. A Spirit player had tried to clear the puck out of the zone by whipping the puck along the glass, on the dasher-board behind the Saginaw net, when the puck took an awkward bounce off of one of the metal stanchion’s which hold the glass in place. The puck ricocheted directly in front of the net and onto the stick of Ottawa forward, Dante Salituro –who caught Serebryakov off guard and quickly scored- giving his team an early 1-0 lead just 1:10 into the first period.
Three minutes later, Ottawa forward, Brendan Bell snuck a second goal past the young Spirit tender, when a weak back-checking effort left Bell alone in front of the Spirit net for an easy rebound goal at 4:11 of the first period. The early two goal deficit would not rattle the young Spirit net minder -or his Spirit team- as they rallied to play one of the most physical, and complete games of this season. Every player on this young Spirit squad contributed in some capacity, as they stuck to their game plan and eventually wore down their opponent.
“This is the way we have to play, you know; it’s not about just running around and doing things out of control,” said Spirit head coach Greg Gilbert. “There is a purpose and plan to the game and part of the game is finishing checks and wearing down the opposition.” “You know, they jumped on us early and got a break with a bad bounce and a couple of unfortunate goals, but after that, we bounced back and we just stuck to the game plan, finishing our opportunities.”
Saginaw cut the lead to 2-1 when veteran forward, Eric Locke re-directed a Vincent Trocheck (Florida Panthers third round, 64 overall 2011 NHL draft) shot at 15:44 of the first period. Dearborn, Mi native, ‘Gritty’ Garret Ross (Chicago Blackhawks fifth round 2012 NHL draft) seized an opportunity to wake up his team when he dropped the gloves with Ottawa forward, Remy Giftopoulos with just twenty-five seconds remaining in the opening period. Ross had taken a high stick to the chin earlier in the period –which required five stitches- so, the gritty Spirit veteran decided to send his team an “inspirational” message before the first intermission; while his team trailed 2-1 after one period of play.
“We took a couple bad bounces in the first period and we went down by two real quick; I thought we were a little sluggish out there, so I definitely had it in my mind that I was going to get the guys going,” said Ross. “We were coming down the ice and he gave me a chop –which I didn’t like- so I figured that was the right time to do it.”
Halfway through the second period, third year Spirit forward, Terry Trafford took a pass from Ross in the Ottawa zone and banged home a rebound to tie the game at two goals apiece at the 11:41 mark of the second period. Saginaw would never relinquish the lead again.
“I came in and cut across the middle, said Trafford. “I just threw the puck on net, and the rebound popped right back out to me, so I took another whack at it and it went in.”
Trafford has been scoring some key goals for the Spirit lately. He scored his first goal of the season on November, 21 against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in a game which went to overtime tied at three goals apiece; at which point, Trafford scored his second goal of the night (and the season) for the game winning overtime goal. Just three nights after his game winner in the Soo, Trafford scored the game winning goal in a 2-1 victory over the Kingston Frontenacs Saturday November, 24 at the Dow Event Center.
Trafford has worked his way to the top line, alongside Vincent Trocheck and Garret Ross. The Toronto, Ontario native has definitely proven he belongs on the top line; as indicated by his recent production. The trio has been working very well together, and Trafford is quick to credit his veteran line mates, and how their chemistry and puck control has led to more scoring opportunities.
“Me and ‘Tro’ (Vincent Trocheck) have been working great together, and now with ‘Rossy’ (Garret Ross) back (from an injury) it’s great; you know, they’ve always worked great together, and I’m fortunate to be skating with them because it really seems like we are meshing pretty good right now,” said Trafford. “We seem to have a lot of puck possession opportunities and we’re in the other teams end a lot more; and with more puck possession, and playing with guys like Trocheck and Ross, it’s nice because they really try to find you and get you the puck.”
Trafford and Ross finished the night with two goals each; while Eric Locke, Justin kea, Dalton Young, Nick Moutrey, Jimmy Lodge, and Vincent Trocheck all added single tallies for the Spirit. Serebryako turned away 18-of the-21 shots he faced in net for the Spirit.
Spirit fall 4-3 in shootout to Owen Sound Sunday afternoon:
The Saginaw Spirit fell to the Owen Sound Attack 4-3 by way of Shootout Sunday afternoon at the Dow Event Center. Jeremiah Addison, Nick Moutrey, and Vincent Trocheck all scored for the Spirit Sunday afternoon as the young Saginaw team took one of the top western conference teams in the entire OHL to a shootout, only to lose on the only goal scored in the shootout.