In the final ten games of the season, the Saginaw Spirit were in a three way battle for the last three spots in the playoffs with Windsor and Guelph trying to position themselves to have a better match up than facing the red-hot Soo Greyhounds.
It was close, but Saginaw got the short end of the stick and face a team that has dominated the regular season. The Soo went 55-7-3-3 this season for a total of 116 points, a feat that last accomplished by the 2009-10 Barrie Colts. This includes a long 23 game winning streak in the middle of the season that lead them to clinching a playoff spot as early as January.
Looking at the season stats for the Greyhounds, they were third in the league with the power play (24.8%), fourth in penalty killing (82.0%), 15th in penalty minutes (629), and top the league in both goals scored (317) and goal differential (+131).
Compare that with Saginaw, who were 20th in the power play (14.7%), 13th in the penalty kill (78.8%), 16th in penalty minutes (613), 19th in goals scored (196) and 16th in goal differential (-42).
Looking at the stats, Saginaw has a lot on their plate they are going to have to handle. In terms of offensive power they only had three players that scored 50+ points this season. (Yes, I am counting Mason Kohn in this even though 5 of his points were when he was with Oshawa.)
The Greyhounds had eight players reach 50+ points this season, including team leader Morgan Frost who piled up 112 points this season.
We can go on comparing the Greyhounds and the Spirit, but it will be a challenge for Saginaw to stop the Hounds game-in and game-out. Providing that the Soo comes to play when the puck drops tonight, I don't see them having trouble getting past Saginaw. They were 7-0-0-1 against the Spirit this season, with the one loss coming in the shootout.
Prediction: Soo sweeps Saginaw 4-0
That's not to say the future is not bright in Saginaw. With the selections this past off-season, and the youth that will be maturing in the next season or two means that they will get a taste of the playoffs, and just hopefully be hungry for more next season.