Saginaw, Mich. – The Flint Firebirds led for two periods but the Saginaw Spirit scored four unanswered goals in the final stanza to earn a 5-3 victory in front of 3,171 fans at the Dow Event Center Wednesday night.
The two teams will meet seven more times this season including a home-and home-series during the Thanksgiving week, Wednesday Nov.22 in Flint and then again on Friday Nov. 24 in Saginaw.
Maurizio Colella had a goal and two assists and was named as the game’s third star. Jake Durham contributed a pair of points that included a goal to pace the Firebirds attack. Nicholas Caamano (Dallas Stars) also scored once. Ty Dellandrea and Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) made the scoresheet with an assist each.
Garrett Forrest turned aside 24 shots. Saginaw out-shot Flint by a close margin, 29-27.
Damien Giroux led the Spirit with a three point night that included an insurance goal that wrapped up the scoring and was selected as the first star. DJ Busdeker and Blade Jenkins had a goal and an assist each. Busdeker was the second star of the game. Kyle Bollers and Spirit captain Keaton Middleton (Toronto Maple Leafs) also scored.
Evan Cormier (New Jersey Devils) registered 24 saves in net for the Spirit.
Flint had the only power-play goal (1/5) in the game and were a perfect two-for-two on the penalty kill.
Jake Durham opened the scoring for the Firebirds by following up Maurizio Colella who was in pursuit of the puck. Goaltender Evan Cormier (New Jersey Devils) made a bid to clear the puck and when he failed to do so, he was out of position. From the high slot, Durham let go a shot that found the back of the net. Durham’s third goal of the season came at 3:58 with Colella and Ty Dellandrea assisting on the first goal of the game.
Flint was dangerous in the final minutes with a power-play that turned into a two man advantage for 42 seconds but Cormier made a number of good saves to keep the Spirit down a goal after the first twenty minutes.
Flint out-shot Saginaw 13-7 in the first period.
Early in the second period, Spirit forward Kyle Bollers picked up a loose puck in the Saginaw zone following the face-off and banked a pass to himself off the boards, which set up a two-on-one break for the Spirit. As he entered the Firebirds zone, Bollers made a nice move on a toe-drag before firing the puck past Forrest over his shoulder on the stick side to tie the game 1-1 at the 1:30 mark. Max Grondin drew the assist.
Nick Caamano scored his sixth of the season at 6:51 of the middle frame, converting on a loose puck in-front of the Saginaw net while on the power-play. Colella and Gordeev picked up the assists.
With 11:11 to go in the second, Dellandrea made a bid to score after making a nice move to set up a break-away, only to be taken down. For his effort, Dellandrea was awarded the Firebirds first penalty shot of the season. Dellandrea went down and tried to score on the short-side but his shot went wide of the net.
With 2:06 remaining in the middle stanza Forrest made an excellent save on Brady Gilmour (Detroit Red Wings) as he put his stick paddle down while Gilmour tried to put the puck through the five-hole.
Flint earned the two goal lead 48 seconds in the second as Durham beat his man to a loose puck behind the Spirit net and made a nice pass from to Colella on the doorstep. Colella scored his eighth goal of the year on the short-side.
Through two, the Firebirds led 3-1 and led in shots 23-18.
The Spirit scored early in the third period to pull to within a goal as DJ Busdeker set up Blade Jenkins on a breakaway to catch the Firebirds’ changing. Jenkins beat Forrest at the 1:44 of the third period. Cormier, who started the play with a pass to Busdeker, also assisted on the scoring play.
Jenkins earned his second assist of the game when he found Busdeker in front of the net, who converted at 7:48 of the middle period. The Spirit took the lead for the first time at 12:14. Giroux won a face-off draw in the Firebirds’ zone back to Middleton who fired the puck through traffic for the eventual game-winning goal. Then, Giroux scored on a breakaway to ice the Spirit comeback at 18:01 with Caleb Everett assisting.
The Firebirds return home to the Dort Federal Event Center this Friday, Nov. 3 to host the North Bay Battalion. Fans will be treated to a special guest appearance from Mickey Redmond, a former player and now TV Analyst on FOX Sports Detroit for the Detroit Red Wings. The First 2,000 fans through the door will receive a free Mickey Redmond autograph card. NHL Hall of Famer, Redmond, a two-time 50-goal scorer for the Red Wings will be in attendance for an autograph session on the arena concourse from 6-7:30 p.m. The autograph session is available to all fans with a suggested $5 donation to the Firebirds Charitable Foundation.
Single game tickets for the Flint Firebirds 2017-18 season are $12 for Bronze, $16 for Silver, $20 for Gold and $26 for VIP seating. All seats are reserved / assigned seating. Fans can purchase tickets at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office and online at ticketmaster.com. For ticket information, flex tickets or group outings, contact Dominic Gutierrez at (810) 701-8536 or email@example.com. To book a private suite, please contact Karla Turner at (810) 744-0580 ext. 213 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: Amanda Ray / Flint Firebirds
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