Tonight the Barrie Colts are at the Dow Event Center to face the Saginaw Spirit for the first of two meetings this regular season. Last year the Colts won both games against Saginaw, outscoring them 10 to 4 over those meetings. Over the last 5 years Barrie has won 6 of 8 meeting. The only 2 losses they have faces have been games played in Saginaw. The struggling Spirit will look to extent that to 3 wins.
Saginaw is off to a slow start this season with a 2-10-2-1 record. Currently riding a 4 game losing streak they will look to catch a struggling Colts team to get back in the wins column. While goaltending has been a weakness for the team, it has been their offense that has made getting wins difficult. They have only scored 31 goals on the season which is the fewest in the league and 19 less than the Colts have, who have also struggled at times finding the back of the net.
Saginaw's last game was a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Windsor Spitfires. Though they got 7 looks on the power-play, they only managed to get 1 goal with the man advantage and generate 27 shots on goal. One area the team has looked sharp has been not taking too many bad penalties. 169 PIM on the year has them as won of the least penalized teams in the OHL Only the Otters and Frontenac's have taken fewer penalties this year. I had to find something positive to say about the team this year and that was the only real stand out thing..
Barrie is coming off a crushing 8-4 loss at the hands of Owen Sound. Barrie continues to struggle against teams that they had success against last year. Colts goalie David Ovsjannikov didn't do the team many favours allowing 4 goals on 8 shots and was pulled early in the game. Despite Christian Propp putting forward a solid effort making 32 saves on 36 shots faced, the 4-1 lead for the Attack when he entered the game would be too much to overcome. Propp was not the only light in the crushing loss though. Kirill Nizhnikov, Lucas Chiodo and Giordano Finoro all scored a goal and got an assist in the game. Chiodo and Finoro have had incredible games so far this season and Nizhnikov has been a great addition to a struggling roster.
Keys to Success: The Colts are for sure the stronger team here but that isn't enough to get the automatic W. If they can move the puck and stay out of the penalty box they should be able to get a much needed win. Saginaw has struggled with special teams. Though, the Spirit have managed to stay out of penalty troubles, they have not had much success when short handed with a .73% success rate on the PK. They have had less success with the man advantage only having a .065% success rate on the PP.
Players to Watch: Finoro has been incredible this season and really fun to watch. Even if he isn't, he always seems to be the fastest skater on the ice and constantly plays with lots of energy. Only area of his game he really needs to look to improve on is his work in the faceoff circle but that can come with time and practice.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 tonight.