It may have been a roller-coaster start to 2017, but tonight the calendar rolls over to a new month and a new week of Ontario Hockey League action.
Starting off a string of three straight games on the road, the Hounds make the trip down Interstate 75 and into Mid-Michigan against the Saginaw Spirit.
Game time is listed as 7 PM but due to pre-game festivities expected puck drop is 7:30 PM.
The Saginaw Spirit will be making it’s first jersey retirement in the 15 years anniversary of the franchise (more below).
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (33-12-2-1, 69 points)
@ Saginaw Spirit (19-21-6-2, 46 points)
It’s the fifth (of eight) meetings this regular season between the two clubs.
The Greyhounds have won three-in-a-row against Saginaw, all separated by 2 goals or less.
W 4-3, Dec 29 @ SAG
After surrendering the first goal of the game 2:30 in, Greyhounds defenceman Conor Timmins pulled the Hounds even to end the first and then gave them a 2-1 lead 7:54 into the second period before sitting tied 2-2 after two; David Miller gave the Hounds their second lead of the night 6:03 into the third; Colton White later scored the GWG with 1:04 to play; Hounds were 1-for-6 on PP and 4-for-4 on PK
W 5-3, Dec. 16 @ SSM
After scoreless first period, Hounds scored 4 goals in the second period to take that lead into the third period, thanks to goals by Katchouk, Hayton, Gettinger and Hawel; Hounds held Saginaw to just 20 shots
W 5-3, Nov. 16 @ SAG
Hounds trailed 1-0 after first period despite outshooting SAG 12-7; Zach Senyshyn scored back-to-back goals for Hounds before Tim Gettinger notched his 1st-career hat trick as the Hounds skated to an early morning victory; Hounds held 37-31 shot advantage
L 0-4, Nov. 11 @ SSM
After a scoreless opening period Cole Coskey put Saginaw on the board with just over three minutes to play in the second period; then despite the fact the Hounds outshot the Spirit 15-10 in the third period, it would be the visitors notching three more goals (Mitchell Stephens, CJ Garcia and Jesse Barwell) to hand the Hounds their first shutout loss this year.
ONE IN, ONE OUT
The Greyhounds are solidly positioned in the Western Conference playoff picture while among a serious fight at the top of the standings.
By virtue of the West Division lead, the Hounds are 2nd in the conference but part of five teams separated by five points; Erie 71, SSM 69, London 71, Windsor 67 and Owen Sound 66.
On the other side, the Saginaw Spirit have closed the gap on themselves and the Flint Firebirds for the 8th and final playoff position to 2 points.
Following tonight Flint will have two games in-hand heading into the final 20+ games of the regular season remaining.
LEADING THE OFFENSE
• Bobby MacIntyre (18-41-59); 5GWG, 19 PP Pts
• Zach Senyshyn (28-13-41); 174 SOG; Most goals; 5GWG
• Boris Katchouk (23-18-41); 4GWG
• Hayden Hodgson (29-23-52); 172SOG; 14 PP Pts; 2GWG
• Filip Hronek (8-31-39); 12 PP Pts
• Brady Gilmour (19-17-36)
SHOWCASING THEIR TALENTS
Back on Monday evening the Hounds duo of MORGAN FROST and CONOR TIMMINS competed at the 2017 Sherwin-Williams Top Prospects Game in Quebec City.
Along with finishing the marquee game with 1 assist, +1 rating, 2 shots on goal and going 8-for-14 in the faceoff circle, Frost finished 2nd in the on-ice sport testing the previous day.
For Timmins, he capped off the contest with a +1 rating and 1 shot on goal
Since it’s been over a month since the last time these two teams met there are a few changes with the Saginaw roster since that late December night.
Gone is former captain Mitchell Stephens. Now with the Spirit is Hayden Davis (from NIagara)
RAISING IT TO THE RAFTERS
Tonight the Saginaw Spirit will retire the first number to the rafters of the Dow Event Center, all part of their 15-year anniversary celebration.
The honouree will be #89 Vincent Trocheck.
The former OHL Red Tilson Trophy winner (Most Outstanding Player) and World Junior Gold medalist is the Spirit’s second ranked scorer in franchise history, posting 94 goals and 146 assists in 236 career games played. His 146 assists is tops in Spirit franchise history.
Trocheck, a Pittsburgh PA native, is now in his 4th season with the NHL’s Florida Panthers.
Read the full release courtesy of saginawspirit.com HERE.
The Rock 101 pre-game show with Gerry Liscumb Jr. begins starting at 7:00 PM. You can hear the action by tuning your FM dial to 101.3 or listen online HERE
This game is not televised.
For all the stats throughout the game check out the OHL boxscore HERE.
Photo courtesy of James Egan Photography