Steady stream in Saginaw


Randy Russon
By
November 21, 2017

It is an intriguing team to follow. And while its best may be yet to come, the Saginaw Spirit is a current stream of Ontario Hockey League progress.

With a 6-2-2 record over its last 10 outings, the Spirit has reached the .500 level with a 9-9-3 mark.

The recent surge and overall record gets a boost on the impressive chart given that Saginaw is the youngest team in the Western Conference with a game plan of being a legitimate OHL contender as early as 2018-2019.

Ergo, to be a .500 team through a quarter of the 2017-2018 OHL season is testament to the planning and building of shrewd, even-keeled general manager Dave Drinkill and the steady hand of solid head coach Troy Smith, who is in his first season in Saginaw following prior OHL bench duty with the Kitchener Rangers and Hamilton Bulldogs.

There is a nice mix to the forward lines where Cole Coskey has 11 goals and Damien Giroux has eight, as does rookie Blade Jenkins.

Then is there overage pickup Mason Kohn, who has five goals in seven games for Saginaw since Drinkill did due diligence in adding the seasoned skater in a trade with the Oshawa Generals.

And finding range with four goals, seven assists, 11 points in his past 11 games after going point-less through the first 10 outings of the season is second-year forward D.J. Busdeker, who was signed by Drinkill as a free agent midway through the 2016-2017 campaign.

On the back line, overage defender Marcus Crawford has produced six goals and 6-foot-6 Keaton Middleton is among the Spirit plus-minus leaders.

And between the pipes, overage goalie Evan Cormier has been in the net for eight of Saginaw’s nine wins to date.

Saginaw’s recent streak of success will be put to the test with three games this week, including a home-and-home set with their Michigan rival, Flint Firebirds.

PHOTO: Saginaw Spirit forward D.J. Busdeker.


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