Sunday, December 23, 2007

Plymouth hosts Saginaw Thursday

The Plymouth Whalers (19-9-2-2) start the second half of the season Thursday at 2 p.m. against the Saginaw Spirit in the Annual Kid’s Day celebration at Compuware Arena. With all kinds of activities for kids as a pleasant backdrop, Plymouth and Saginaw (14-14-3-1) meet in the second of eight meetings over the course of the season. The Whalers and Spirit also meet in Saginaw next Saturday at the Dow Event Center.

Plymouth defeated Saginaw, 4-1, at Compuware Arena on Nov. 21.

Plymouth goaltender Jeremy Smith and defenseman Michal Jordan are playing in the World Junior Championship which starts Wednesday. Smith is with Team USA and Jordan (just 17 years old and joining Canada’s Steven Stamkos and John Tavares as the youngest players in the tournament) is playing for the Czech Republic.

Smith and Jordan are expected to be with their respective teams through Jan. 6.

With Smith away, backup Matt Hackett is expected to carry to load over the next two weeks. With Jordan away, the Whalers called rookie defenseman Anthony Donati on Dec. 11 and he’s played in three games. The Whalers should also get Andrew Fournier (21-20--41) back from injury and perhaps Joe McCann (8-7--15 in 20 games) as well. Fournier and McCann have missed three games with nagging injuries, but should be back on Thursday. Chris Terry (24-35--59) continues to lead the Whalers in scoring and is fourth overall in the OHL.

Saginaw general manager Don Edwards seemed to energize the Spirit when he traded three veterans - right wing Jan Mursak, defenseman Nigel Williams and goaltender Parker Van Buskirk - to Belleville on Dec. 9 in exchange for goaltender Edward Pasquale, forward Brendan Taylor and a pair of third-round draft choices. Saginaw won all three games directly after the trade to climb back to the .500 mark. Veterans Jack Combs (22-28--50), Ryan McDonough (22-19--41) and Tomas Zaborsky (18-17--35) lead the Spirit in scoring.

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