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Preview: Hamilton Bulldogs Visit Flint on “Ugly Sweater Night” Friday
Amanda Ray
Hamilton Bulldogs (15-6-2-3) at Flint Firebirds (7-16-2-0)
Date | Time Friday, Dec. 1 | 7:00 p.m.
Location Flint, Mich. | Dort Federal Event Center (Directions)
Tickets Ticketmaster.com | (810) 744-0580
Promotions – Ugly Sweater Night
 CANUSA Games Recognition
TV – Cable 14: ch. 14 / 814 HD Live (Hamilton)
– OHL Action Pak: Rogers TV ch. 467 & Cogeco TV ch. 467 Live (Ontario)
Video Stream OHL Live
Radio WQUS 103.1 FM (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show: 6:30p
Radio (Mobile) US 103 App: Android | iPhone/iPad
Live Stats Here
Media Notes Packet Here 
Next Home Game Saturday, Dec. 2: Teddy Bear Toss & Joe Kocur Night
Social Media @FlintFirebirds   | Facebook  | Instagram 

Flint, Mich. – The Flint Firebirds open a three-game weekend against the Eastern Conference’s Hamilton Bulldogs at home Friday night. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (ET) at the Dort Federal Event Center.

Hamilton comes to Flint atop the Eastern Conference, having won nine of their last 11 games and are among the CHL’s Top-10 Ranking’s, listed eighth in North America.  The Bulldogs lead the Eastern Conference where only seven points separate the top six teams.

It will be the first of two games between Flint and Hamilton this season and the first meeting since the two teams completed a trade last Saturday, that saw the Firebirds acquiring first-round pick (3rd-overall in 2016) forward Connor Roberts, in addition to the Bulldogs’ second-round selection in 2019 and third-round pick in 2020, along with Sudbury’s third-round pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.

In four meetings over the past two years the two teams are dead-locked with a 1-1-1-1 record, and three of the four games being decided by one goal. Flint’s win came last season on Jan. 28, a 4-3 victory at the Dort Federal Event Center before a sell-out crowd of 3,942 fans in Flint.

On special teams the Firebirds are operating at 15.3% on the power-play and 69.2% on the penalty-kill. Hamilton’s power-play is ninth in scoring at a 20.9% clip while the penalty-kill is at 81.9%, fifth in the league.

 

Firebirds & Bulldogs Player Connections:
On the ice, seven players come into Friday night’s game having ties between both the Flint Firebirds and the Hamilton Bulldogs. Current Firebirds’ Maurizio Colella, Jake Durham, Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Connor Roberts (2018 NHL Draft prospect) have a history in Hamilton, while former Firebirds’ Will Bitten (Montreal Canadiens), Nick Caamano (Dallas Stars) and Ryan Moore are now Bulldogs. Following Saturday’s trade, Nick Caamano and Ryan Moore will make their first and only regular-season visit back to the Dort Federal Event Center. Firebirds’ defenseman Fedor Gordeev was also acquired in a trade last fall that sent forward Will Bitten to the Bulldogs. Maurizio Colella played in 37 games with Hamilton in the 2015-16 season while Jake Durham was selected in the 2015 OHL Draft by Hamilton.

 

Promotions:
The Firebirds will don especially ‘Ugly Sweater’ Jerseys that fans will have the chance to bid on during a live on-ice auction immediately following the game. All proceeds will be donated to The Old Newsboys of Flint, a non-profit organization that serves underprivileged children in the community. In the past two seasons, the Firebirds have raised over $20,000 for The Old Newsboys and are excited to be an important partner again this year. All fans wearing an ugly holiday sweater on Friday night are eligible for a special $5 discount on Silver level seats at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office.

Also on Friday night, local CANUSA athletes and coaches will be recognized for their participation and accomplishments. For 60 years the CANUSA Games have provided the youth (and adults) of Genesee County an opportunity to participate in international friendship Games between Hamilton, Ontario, and Flint, thus the recognition as the Hamilton Bulldogs visit Flint for the only time this season.

Single game tickets for all Firebirds games are $12 / Bronze, $16 / Silver, $20 / 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.comFor ticket information, flex tickets or group outings, contact Dominic Gutierrez at (810) 701-8536 or domg@flintfirebirds.com. To book a private suite, please contact Karla Turner at (810) 744-0580 ext. 213 or email karla@flintfirebirds.com.

 

Players to Watch

Flint Firebirds (7-16-2-0, 5th West Division):
The Firebirds’ acquisition of forward Connor Roberts from the Hamilton Bulldogs paid quick dividends. In his first game with the Firebirds, the Owen Sound, Ont., native drew an assist on Sunday afternoon against the Kingston Frontenacs. Roberts was selected as the third-overall pick by Hamilton and was the first forward to be selected in the 2016 OHL Priority Draft.

There is a four way competitive race for the team lead in points. Maurizio Colella currently leads the Firebirds with 18 points (8G, 10A) in 24 games. Ty Dellandrea is second with 17 points (8G, 9A) in 25 games. Both Colella and Dellandrea also share the team lead with eight goals. Jake Durham has 15 points (3G, 12A) and Nicholas Mattinen (Toronto Maple Leafs) leads all defenseman with 14 points (3G, 11A) in 25 games.

Defenseman Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) was a welcome addition to the Firebirds’ blue-line last week and in just his second game, registered his first point with an assist against the Saginaw Spirit.

Between-the-pipes, Garrett Forrest has played in 21 of 24 games including 20 starts this season. Forrest has a 4.72 goals against average (GAA) and a .864 save percentage (SAV%). Forrest has backstopped Flint to all seven wins in net this season. Rookie goaltender Luke Cavallin received a couple of starts last week against both the Saginaw Spirit and the Kingston Frontenacs and has appeared in eight games this season with a 5.54 goals against average (GAA) and a .842 save percentage (SAV%). Cavallin was the highest selected goaltender in the 2017 OHL Priority Draft.

NHL: The Firebirds have three players with NHL ties consisting of Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs), Nicholas Mattinen (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes). Additionally, Dennis Busby, Ty Dellandrea, Hunter Holmes, Ryan Littlejohn, Evan Morrison, Connor Roberts and Jack Wismer are seven first time eligible players to be selected in the NHL Entry Draft in June 2018. Busby, Dellandrea, Holmes, Roberts and Wismer were listed among NHL Central Scouting’s November ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming 2018 NHL Draft.

Hamilton Bulldogs (15-6-2-3, 1st East Division):
Matthew Strome (13G, 13A) and Will Bitten (6G, 20A) are tied for the team lead on the Bulldogs’ roster with 26 points. Strome has been one of the hottest players in the OHL with points in 10 of his last 11 games (8G, 11A). Bitten is currently riding on a five-game point-streak (4G, 13A). Brandon Saigeon is third in team scoring with 25 points (11G, 14A) and has points in seven of his last eight games with 13 points (5G, 8A). Ben Gleason is the cousin of former NHL defenseman Tim Gleason and is the highest scoring rearguard on the Bulldogs roster with (4G, 13A) 17 points. Rookie Arthur Kaliyev has been a sensation and leads all OHL rookies in scoring with (10G, 8A) 18 points. He is currently riding an 11-game point-streak (8G, 5A). Forward MacKenzie Entwistle just returned from a hand injury with a pair of assists against the Saginaw Spirit in his first game back since Nov. 2.

In net, Kaden Fulcher (Detroit Red Wings) has played in 21 games (11-6-2-2) and is the sixth-best goaltender statistically in the OHL with a 2.84 goals against average (GAA) and a .903 save percentage (SAV%). Rookie goaltender Nick Donofrio, who hails from Ypsilanti, Mich., has not lost in regulation in five games (4-0-0-1) and carries a 2.24 goals against average (GAA) and a .925 save percentage (SAV%).

NHL: Hamilton has seven players with NHL ties consisting of Will Bitten (Montreal Canadiens), Nick Caamano (Dallas Stars), MacKenzie Entwistle (Arizona Coyotes), Kaden Fulcher (Detroit Red Wings), Matthew Strome (Philadelphia Flyers), Marian Studenic (New Jersey Devils) and Reilly Webb (Detroit Red Wings).

The Belleville Bulls relocated to Hamilton in the summer of 2015. Notable Bulls’ alumni to play in the NHL are Steve Bancroft, Jonathan Cheechoo, Doug Gilmour, Al Iafrate, Darren McCarty, Marty McSorley, Darren Pang, Richard Panik, Jason Spezza, P.K. Subban, Scott Thornton and Mike Vellucci.

 

Broadcast Coverage:
Friday evening’s contest against the Hamilton Bulldogs can be heard live on the radio throughout Flint & Mid-Michigan on US 103.1 FM, online at www.us103.com or by downloading the US 103 app here. Dominic Hennig will call the play-by-play action on the Flint Firebirds Hockey Radio Network. Pregame coverage will begin 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 6:30 p.m.

Friday’s game against the Bulldogs will also be televised live in Hamilton on Cable 14 / 814 (HD) for both Rogers TV and Cogeco TV cable subscribers. In addition, the game will be televised live province-wide throughout Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 467 for both Rogers TV and Cogeco TV cable subscribers. OHL fans with cable television in Ontario can add the OHL Action Pak to their television plan to catch the Firebirds in action, home or away all season long. Along with Friday’s game, 64 of the Firebirds’ 68 games throughout the 2017-18 season are also scheduled to be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak.

All Flint Firebirds home and away games throughout the 2017-18 season can be watched anywhere in the world online on www.ohllive.com or on the OHL Live app. OHL Live is a league video streaming platform that delivers high quality live and on-demand coverage of all regular season and playoff games annually. The cost is $6.99 per game, $69.99 for Flint Firebirds away games only, $179.99 for all 68 home and away Firebirds games and $279.99 for all 1,360 OHL games throughout the 2017-18 season.

 

Blue Line Club Menu:
Presented by King’s Catering, Friday evening’s dinner menu for the Blue Line Club features southern fried catfish, baked white fish, spaghetti with meat sauce, green salad with ll the fixing’s dinner rolls and for dessert, apple pie, coconut cream pie and assorted cookies. Friday’s menu is available to all sponsors and season ticket holders for $15 per person. Dinner RSVPs are encouraged by emailing Karla Turner at karla@flintfirebirds.com.

 

Next Home Game:
Flint returns home to the Dort Federal Event Center tomorrow, Saturday Dec. 2 for the Firebirds’ third-annual “Teddy Bear Toss” Night. Saturday, fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used teddy bears or stuffed animals to the game and after the Firebirds score their first goal, fans can launch them onto the ice. The stuffed animals will be collected and donated to the Ennis Center for Children, Hurley Medical Center, Michigan State Police and the Whaley Children’s Center. Last year, the Firebirds donated more than 1,000 stuffed animals to the local charities. Fans are asked to bring and throw their stuffed animals in bags so that they stay dry for the kids.

Also on Saturday, four-time Stanley Cup Champion and former Detroit Red Wing Joe Kocur will be signing autographs on the arena concourse from 6-7:30 p.m. The First 1,000 fans through the door will receive a free Joe Kocur photo card to get autographed.

Single game tickets for all Firebirds games are $12 / Bronze, $16 / Silver, $20 / 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.comFor ticket information, flex tickets or group outings, contact Dominic Gutierrez at (810) 701-8536 or domg@flintfirebirds.com. To book a private suite, please contact Karla Turner at (810) 744-0580 ext. 213 or email karla@flintfirebirds.com.

 

Photo Credit: Amanda Ray / Flint Firebirds

 

For more information:

Dominic Hennig
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club
dominic@flintfirebirds.com
(810) 519-9347

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