Erie, Penn. – The Flint Firebirds are set to begin a two-game road-trip, beginning Wednesday night against the Erie Otters before traveling to St. Catharines for a Thursday night tilt against the Niagara IceDogs. Puck drop vs. the Otters is set for 7 p.m. (ET) at the Erie Insurance Arena (capacity 6,833) in Erie, Penn.
Thursday marks the fourth and final meeting between Flint and Erie this season. Flint is 1-1-0-1 against Erie. The Otters earned the first victory of the series on Nov. 18. More recently, Flint claimed victory over Erie at the Dort Federal Event Center in front of 3,807 fans on Jan. 6. Flint scored two third period goals to erase a deficit. The game required a shootout before being settled in Flint’s favor, 4 – 3. Then, on Jan. 14, the Otters won the third meeting in Erie, again in a shootout and again by the final score of 4 – 3.
The Otters won all four battles with Flint last season, with one requiring overtime and one going to the shootout. In the Firebirds’ three years as a franchise in the OHL, Flint holds a record of 3-4-1-3 versus Erie. At the Erie Insurance Arena, the Firebirds are 1-1-0-2, earning points in three of four total contests. This season, Flint brings an overall record of 18-39-3-2, ranking 5th in the West Division. Erie has a season record of 21-32-7-3 and sit 5th in the Midwest Division.
In the 68-game OHL regular season, Erie has recorded at least 50 wins in their past four-consecutive seasons but will not this campaign. The Otters’ are recently most known for producing forward Connor McDavid. McDavid was selected as the first-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. He played for Erie from 2012-15 and is currently on the cover of the EA Sports NHL 18 video game for PlayStation and Xbox. In 82 NHL games last season, McDavid recorded 100 points (30G, 70A) for Edmonton. McDavid could be playing for Erie as an overager this season. In regards to talent in the OHL, 26.4% of all players on NHL opening day rosters are alumni of the OHL, which is more than any other league in the world.
With the man-advantage the Firebirds are converting at 17.3% on the power-play and rank 17th, while Erie is at 17.5%, ranking 16th. Flint’s penalty-kill has been successful 74.2% of the time, while Erie is finding success at a rate of 78.8%.
Players to Watch
Flint Firebirds (18-39-3-2, 5th West Division):
Maurizio Colella leads the team in points with 56 in 61 games played. His 35 assists are the most on the squad. In last Saturday’s game, which was themed ‘Overager Night,’ Colella scored the overtime game-winning goal against the Sudbury Wolves at the Dort Federal Event Center. Ty Dellandrea leads the team with 25 goals on the season and ranks second in overall points with 54 in 61 games. Connor Roberts ranks third on the squad with 16 goals and 16 helpers for 32 total points. Dellandrea and Roberts were both first-round draft picks in the 2016 OHL Draft.
From the blue-line, defenseman Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) leads all defenders on the squad with 30 points in 40 games with Flint this season. In Saturday’s contest against Sudbury, Jalen recorded his 100th career OHL point.
In net, Garrett Forrest carries a 4.68 goals-against average (GAA) and a save percentage of .866 (SAV%). Forrest has appeared in 42 games and earned 12 wins, including Saturday night’s 3 – 2 win over the Wolves. Rookie goaltender Luke Cavallin has a 4.08 GAA and a .877 SAV% in 26 appearances.
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 eight first-time eligible players to be selected in the NHL Entry Draft in June 2018.
Erie Otters (21-32-7-3, 5th Midwest Division):
Leading the Otters is Novi, Mich. native Ivan Lodnia (Minnesota Wild) with 22 goals and 37 helpers in 62 games played. He’s had 16 multi-point games this season. Kyle Maksimovich currently ranks second on the squad with 58 points in 60 games played on the season. He has scored 27 times, the most of any Erie player this season. Troy Lajeunesse has earned the third-most points for Erie, collecting 39 points in 55 games. Rookie forward Hayden Fowler has more than tripled his point-production is 10 less games since coming over from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Fowler has 13 points (7G, 6A) in 23 games with Erie this season.
Goaltender Anand Oberoi has appeared in 26 games this season and has earned nine wins, including one shut-out. He has posted a 3.82 goals-against average (GAA) and a save percentage (SAV%) of .877. Rookie netminder Daniel Murphy has appeared in 23 games and earned a 3.65 GAA and a .888 SAV% with five wins and one shutout.
NHL: Ivan Lodnia (Minnesota Wild) is the lone player on the current Erie roster with NHL ties. Rookie forward Maxim Golod was also listed among NHL Central Scouting’s November ‘Players to Watch’ list for the 2018 NHL Draft in June.
10 notable Otters of their 38 alumni that played in the NHL are Brad Boyes, Chris Campoli, Carlo Colaiacovo, Alex DeBrincat, Connor McDavid, Ryan O’Reilly, Nick Palmieri, Michael Rupp, Dylan Strome and Jason Ward.
Wednesday evening’s contest in Erie, Penn. 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.
The game will also be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 455 for Rogers TV cable subscribers and 485 for 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 Wednesday’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 three home games remaining this season, the Firebirds return to the Dort Federal Event Center to host the London Knights this Saturday, Mar. 10 at 7 p.m. (ET). Saturday marks the Firebirds’ annual firefighter and host family appreciation night.
Saturday’s ‘Firefighter Appreciation Night’ is sponsored by Dort Federal Credit Union and features a $5 discounted silver level ticket for all firefighter personnel with valid ID at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office.
In addition, the Firebirds are teaming up with the Whaley Children’s Center (WCC) for a donation drive where fans can bring in five or more personal hygiene items to receive a complimentary Silver Level ticket, sponsored by Landaal Packaging & View Newspaper Group in Mich. and Oasis Outsourcing in Sarasota, Fla, while supplies last. Whaley’s has a great need for a variety of personal hygiene products including shampoo, conditioner, hair brushes, feminine products, ethnic hair care, hair detangler, deodorant, towels, wash clothes, hair ties, underwear, socks, Nair, sunscreen, bug spray and facial cleansing clothes.
Firebirds’ players host families will be honored and recognized prior to puck drop Saturday night. The players come to Flint from all over the world, near and far, from Detroit and Ashburn, Virginia to Toronto, Ontario, Moscow, Russia and Farchant, Germany. Host families provide the Firebirds with with amazing support and accommodations all season long.
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 more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club