Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Spirit has great weekend

The Saginaw Spirit started last weekend with only ten wins on the season. But that total has been upped to an even dozen after wins over the Sarnia Sting and Guelph Storm.

Saginaw beat Sarnia, 5-2, Friday night at the Dow Event Center behind a three-point (two goals, assist) game from rookie Michal Birner in his home debut.

"It was great to play in Saginaw for the first time," Birner said. "Lots of goals. We played good as a team."

Birner was acquired from the Barrie Colts last month, but immigration issues kept him in Canada and he only played road games for the Spirit.

Tom Pyatt, captain Thomas Harrison and Marek Kvapil also scored for Saginaw to back Jeff Weber's 33-save performance.

"Our first forty minutes were the best hockey we can play," Spirit head coach and general manager Bob Mancini said. "We came into tonight worried about us. When we focus on our game, we force the other team to adapt to us. I'm proud of our team, but we still have to focus on playing sixty minutes of hockey."

The next night, Tommy Mannino, Kvapil and Pyatt staked Saginaw to a 3-0 lead over Guelph and held off a late surge for ther 3-2 win. Weber stopped 26 shots.

"This weekend was huge for our team," Weber said. "If we continue to do what we are doing, we will play some good hockey. Our defense played solid all weekend long, and we're heading in the right direction."

Saginaw (12-26-1-4) is in Ottawa this Friday against the 67's. Next home game is Jan. 29 against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

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