Friday, January 02, 2009

Spirit host Whalers tonight

The Saginaw Spirit start off the new year with a 7:11 p.m. contest against the Plymouth Whalers tonight.

DJ Ryan Rousseau will also be in the house for a dance-off.

The Spirit enter the contest with 44 points and a record of 21-13-0-2. The Guelph Storm (20-13-2-3) edged past Saginaw in the rankings with a win before the holiday, but only with a one-point lead. The Storm are in third place with 45 points and the Spirit are in fourth place with 44 points. Both teams play Friday night.

As of Tuesday, the Whalers are in fourth place in the OHL West Division with 36 points and a record of 16-17-4-0. Plymouth lost to the Windsor Spitfires on the road Wednesday night, 1-0.

The Whalers picked up some additional offense with the acquisition of overage center Matt Caria (13G 30A). The former Soo Greyhounds forward is averaging over a point a game, having notched three goals and five assists in seven games with the Whalers.

Other contributors up front include center Chris Terry (19G 18A), center Tyler Seguin (5G 19A) and winger AJ Jenks (10G 11A). Seguin is with Team Ontario at the World Hockey Challenge and will not dress in Saginaw tonight.

Their defense boasts two Czech imports in Michal Jordan (3G 15A) and Jan Latal (1G 1A). Latal leads the d-men in plus/minus with a plus-5. Jordan will not be in the lineup as he is in Ottawa with the Czech World Junior Team.

The Whalers also added overage defenseman Scott Fletcher to the line-up (1G 4A). The former Spirit blueliner has posted a goal and an assist since arriving in Plymouth from the Niagara IceDogs.

Matt Hackett has assumed the starting goaltending duties for Whalers, posting a 3.11 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage in 25 games this season.

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