As many of you may remember; when the names Sault Ste Marie and Saginaw were in the same sentence, us older ones would think of the good old Friendship Games. To the younger generation out there, it was an Olympics style meet every year where it would be hosted by either our city or our American sister city Saginaw Mi. Different sports from basketball to volleyball, to softball to hardball, were all part of the games.
I participated on three occasions where I as a pitcher in the hardball category. Man those were fun times as we experienced the billeting process that our Hounds know all about; only on a much much lesser scale of two nights.
Anyway, when these two hockey teams have met over the last 20 years, it is nothing but friendly. Hockey is a hard hitting and quite frankly aggressive if not violent sport at times. Tonight’s game may not see any violence lol, but it will see some aggression, hard hitting, and no kisses between whistles.
The Hound arrive in Saginaw carrying a 7pt lead over the Spirit, but the home town kids have three games in hand. Yes, as the cliché goes; they still need to win those games. Anyway, this is a 4pt game if you know what I mean.
The Spirit have just acquired Brayden Hislop (from Owen Sound) on defense who at 18 years of age will bring some size and experience. Playing so far this year with the Elmira Sugar Kings (GOJHL), he has put up impressive numbers for a defenceman having potted 1 goal and assisting on 17 others in 17 games. Any D man playing at a clip of over a point a game is certainly a steal.
The Soo Greyhounds are coming off of a win on the road against Windsor this past Saturday night with rookie Charlie Schenkel playing very well after being a last minute replacement for Samuel Ivanov who was due to start but was scratched minutes before the game got under way. The word on the street was that he was feeling a bit under the weather.
The Hounds in my opinion played good enough to win but it seemed that there were some chemistry issues (just my opinion) due to the injuries the team has been suffering from as of late. At the time of writing, we have 3 veterans that are either week to week, or day to day in their healing process. The doctors will be evaluating Jacob Holmes and will determine when he is fit to play. I would imagine a full cage may be in place for the first two games when he is cleared. The status of Ivanov is unknown at this time of publishing. Now on to tonight’s game.
Tale of the Tape
Coach Chris Lazary
General Manager Dave Drinkill
Sault native Camryn Baber (7pts) will try and show-up his home town heroes (growing up) as Saginaw will try and make sacrificial lambs so to speak of our Dogs as they try and break free from their two game losing streak. The Spirit haven’t played well so far at the DOW Events Centre and have only earned 4 out of a possible 12 pts. The Hounds on the other hand are known to be strong on the road and are 4-3 with one of those losses against one of Canadas’ top teams in the country.. the London Knights.
It is not known at this time if Brayden will make his OHL debut or not; they may want him to have a couple of practices under his belt before inserting him in the lineup. We’ll see.
The Hounds will have to give respect to all 4 Saginaw lines as their scoring is spread out. Top two players leading the team are Josh Bloom (13pts) and Dean Loukus (10pts).
In net, veteran 3rd round pick of the New York Islanders, Tristan Lennox from Cambridge Ontario has a 4-3 record and a very healthy 2.67 GAA so far in 7 games. He may be a factor if the Spirit are to take two points from a strong offensive Soo Greyhounds club.
Coach John Dean
General Manager Kyle Raftis
The Soo enters the DOW with some swagger as the last time these teams met, the Soo made the Spirit look like Casper the Friendly Ghost by pounding them 8-4 in the Soo. Saginaw will try and exact that revenge for sure.
Rory Kerins is number 4 in the league scoring race with 24pts, and the potent Hounds power play has Tye Kartye at number one in the league with 15 PP goals and Tanner Dickinson leads the league in PP assists with 12.
On the road the Hounds are lethal and are converting over 36% of the time on the PP; but beware, the Spirit even though their home record is subpar right now, are killing at a rate of 92.3% and are tied for first in the league with 3 short handed goals while sleeping in their own beds.
Robert Calisti and Ryan O’Rourke will be holding the fort on the backend; they just have to stay out of the box. Both young kids are leading the team in a category you don’t want to be at the top of. Calisti has spent 21 minutes in the box this year, followed by his buddy O’Rourke at 19 minutes.
I am sure John Dean and Jordan Smith have addressed this with them during their weekly meetings.
Anyway, get your snacks out and ready and watch the game.
**Before I forget, I have been getting messages about the navigation process to find the game if you have purchased the CHL package and I confirm it would be a bit confusing if it is the first time you have done so. **
When you log in to CHL.ca, go to Schedule at the top left. From here it will usually bring you to a screen that shows tomorrows’ games. The trick is to go to the little white box at the top right and click on it and using that calendar, click back to tonights’ game. Voila. I hope that helped some of you out there.