Guelph, Ont – The Firebirds hit the road to battle the Guelph Storm this Friday night. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) at the Sleeman Centre (capacity 4,715).
Friday marks the fourth and final meeting between Flint and Guelph this season. Through three games this campaign, the Firebirds are 1-1-1-0 vs. the Storm. Flint won the first of two games on home ice at the Dort Federal Event Center 7 – 1 on Oct. 11 before falling 3-2 in overtime and then 5-3 in Guelph. Last season, the Firebirds swept Guelph, winning all four contests. All time, Flint holds a 6-4-1-0 record after 11 total meetings.
Overall, Guelph has a season record of 27-25-3-4, sitting fourth in the Midwest Division. They rank eighth out of 10 teams in the Western Conference, holding onto the final playoff spot. The Firebirds are 16-39-3-2, ranking fifth in the West Division and 10th in the Western Conference.
On special teams, Flint ranks 16th on the power-play, scoring 17.3% of the time. Guelph ranks seventh with the man-advantage overall, converting on 22.2% of their chances. However, the Storm’s power-play numbers on home ice rank them 15th with a 17.3% success rate. Flint kills penalties at a 74.6% clip, compared to Guelph’s even 80% achievement when short-handed.
Players to Watch
Flint Firebirds (16-39-3-2, 5th West Division):
Maurizio Colella leads all Firebirds’ players with 52 points in 59 games this season. He has the most assists on the team with 33. In the first three meetings with Guelph this season, Colella has recorded one goal and four assists for five total points. Ty Dellandrea ranks second in points with 50 in 59 games. He has the most goals on the squad with 23, and the most power-play goals with 10. Dellandrea has four points in three games against the Storm this campaign. Connor Roberts ranks third on the team in scoring with 16 goals and 14 helpers for 30 points total. He scored two goals in the most recent game against the Storm on January 26th, earning him ‘Third-Star’ honors.
Detroit, Mich. native Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) leads all defenseman with 28 points in just 39 games with Flint this season. He has nine goals and 19 helpers. Riley McCourt leads all rookies on the Firebirds roster with 20 points on the season. He has four goals and 16 assists in 48 games played.
In net, Garrett Forrest carries a 4.75 goals-against average (GAA) and a save percentage of .864% (SAV%). Forrest has appeared in 41 games and has earned 11 wins. The ‘overager’ is in his final season in the OHL and holds the record as the all-time saves’ leader for the Firebirds. Rookie goaltender Luke Cavallin has a 4.04 GAA and a .877 SAV% in 25 appearances. 25 games for Cavallin is the second most for any rookie goalie in the OHL, behind Owen Sound’s Mack Guzda who has played 27. He has earned five wins thus far in his rookie season.
NHL: The Firebirds have two players with NHL ties consisting of Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) and Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs). Additionally, Dennis Busby, Ty Dellandrea, Hunter Holmes, Ryan Littlejohn, Riley McCourt, Connor Roberts and Jack Wismer are seven first-time eligible players to be selected in the NHL Entry Draft in June 2018.
Guelph Storm (27-25-3-4, 4th Midwest Division):
Guelph is led in scoring by their 2016 first overall pick Ryan Merkley. The defenseman leads the team with 46 assists and 58 total points in 54 games played. Merkley also leads the entire OHL in power-play assists with 28 on the season. Second in scoring for the Storm is forward Isaac Ratcliffe (Philadelphia Flyers) with 55 points in 58 games played. He leads the team with 32 goals. Rookie center Cam Hillis is third on the Guelph roster with 54 points in 57 games this season.
In net, Anthony Popovich has appeared in 51 games this season and earned 26 wins and one shutout. He has a 3.43 goals-against average (GAA) and a save percentage (SAV%) of .902. Back-up Nico Daws has a 4.22 GAA and a .882 SAV%. The rookie netminder has earned one win in 12 appearances this season.
NHL: The Storm have six players that have NHL ties including Liam Hawel (Dallas Stars), Isaac Ratcliffe (Philadelphia Flyers), Dmitri Samorukov (Edmonton Oilers), Nate Schnarr (Arizona Coyotes), Mark Shoemaker (San Jose Shark) and Alexey Toropchenko (St. Louis Blues).
12 notable Guelph Storm skaters to play in the NHL are Craig Anderson, Todd Bertuzzi, Tyler Bertuzzi, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Dan Cloutier, Drew Doughty, Aaron Downey, Robby Fabbri, Daniel Girardi, Manny Malhotra and Richard Panik.
Friday evening’s contest against the Guelph Storm 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 7:00 p.m.
The game will also be televised live in Guelph on channel 20 / 510 (HD) for Rogers TV cable subscribers. Additionally, the game will be televised live province-wide throughout Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 446 for both Rogers TV cable subscribers 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, 65 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.
Next Home Game:
With only four home games remaining this season, the Firebirds return to the Dort Federal Event Center to host the Sudbury Wolves this Saturday, Mar. 3 at 7 p.m. (ET). Saturday marks the Firebirds’ annual team picture giveaway and player autograph session, Gordie Howe Tribute Night and Overagers night.
The first 2,000 fans in attendance Saturday will receive the Firebirds’ official team picture poster to get autographed by their favorite Firebirds in the arena lobby immediately following the game. Additionally, 500 t-shirts will be given away to fans throughout the game courtesy of Genesys Athletic Club.
Saturday is also Gordie Howe Tribute Night sponsored by Diplomat. Gordie’s son, Murray Howe, will be in attendance signing copies of the book “Nine Lessons I Learned from My Father.” Part Tuesdays with Morrie, part Mr. Hockey, Nine Lessons is about what Murray Learned from his Father’s intimate account of all that lies behind the towering legacy of the beloved Gordie Howe.
Additionally, the Firebirds’ three “Overagers,” Maurizio Colella, Garrett Forrest and Jalen Smereck will be honored prior to the game. In the OHL, an overager is a player that begins the season at 20 years of age. A team is only allowed to have three overage players on their roster after the trade deadline in January.
Single game tickets for all Firebirds games are $12 / Bronze, $16 / Silver, $20 / Gold and $26 / VIP seating (Seating Chart). All seats are reserved / assigned seating. Fans can purchase tickets by calling (810) 744-0580, in-person at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office or online at ticketmaster.com here.
For ticket information, flex tickets or group outings, contact Dominic Gutierrez at (810) 701-8536 or email email@example.com. To book a private suite, please contact Karla Turner at (810) 744-0580 ext. 213 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club