Preview: Firebirds Travel to Owen Sound for Wednesday Night Battle
|Game 53: Flint Firebirds (26-21-1-4) at Owen Sound Attack (36-14-1-1)|
|Date | Time||Wednesday, Feb. 15 | 7:00 p.m.|
|Location||Owen Sound, Ont. | Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre (capacity 3,300)|
|Tickets||Online | (519) 371-7452|
|TV||– Rogers TV ch. 53 / 510 HD Live (Owen Sound)
– OHL Action Pak: Rogers TV ch. 439 & Cogeco TV ch. 480 Live (Ontario)
|Video Stream||OHL Live|
|Radio||WTRX 1330-AM (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show: 6:30p|
|Radio (Mobile)||Sports Xtra 1330 App: Android | iPhone/iPad|
|Next Home Game||Saturday, Feb. 18 vs. Sarnia (Tickets)|
|Social Media||@FlintFirebirds | Facebook | Instagram|
Owen Sound, Ont. – After posting wins in five of their last six games, the Flint Firebirds are on the road Wednesday night for a mid-week game with the Owen Sound Attack. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre, with a standing-room only crowd expected for the contest.
Flint and Owen Sound will play their third-of-four games against each other after the two clubs split the first two contests. The Firebirds won the first game of the season 2-0 on Sep. 24 but lost the following match-up, 5-2, on Nov. 18. Ryan Moore and Nicholas Caamano (Dallas Stars) have each recorded three points in two games against the Attack this season.
The Firebirds are 10-13-0-3 on the road this season but have won their past two games away from Flint. The Firebirds are now 5-0-0-1 in their last six games, earning 11 out of a possible 12 points in that span. The Attack are 20-4-1-1 on home-ice this season and have won 12 of their past 13 games at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
Flint’s penalty kill now ranks ninth overall in the OHL, operating at 81.9%, while Owen Sound’s power-play is third-best in the OHL at 24.4%. Despite the Firebirds having the 18th-ranked power-play in the OHL at 13.5%, Flint has scored three power-play goals in their past three games. The Attack’s penalty kill is fifth-best in the league, operating at 83.3%. Owen Sound is in the midst of a four-game winning streak and have scored a combined total of 24 goals in that time. The Attack have scored the fourth-most goals in the OHL with 210, while the Firebirds are 13th with 172.
Owen Sound sits three spots ahead of Flint in fourth-place in the Western Conference. The Attack have 74 points in 52 games, while the Firebirds are in seventh-place with 57 points in 52 contests.
Wednesday evening’s contest will be Flint Firebirds’ Equipment Manager Mike Hildenbrand’s 600th career game.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (26-21-1-4, 7th Western Conference):
Nick Caamano, Ryan Moore and Kole Sherwood are four Flint Firebirds to watch Wednesday night.
Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) is currently riding a 14-game point streak where he has racked-up 31 points (14G, 17A) in that time. He has 13 goals in his past 10 contests and has 27 goals and 34 assists in 44 games this season. Sherwood’s point-streak dates back to Dec. 30, 2016.
Ryan Moore is currently in the midst of a six-game point-streak and is fifth among all OHL skaters with 70 points this season. Moore has 13 goals in the last 14 games and is currently in a tie for third most shorthanded goals scored in the OHL, with three this season. Nicholas Caamano (Dallas Stars) has 17 points (11G, 6A) in the last 14 contests and has seven goals in his past eight games. Caamano is third on the Firebirds’ roster with 26 goals and 24 assists in 51 games played.
Additionally, Maurizio Colella scored once and collected two assists in Flint’s last game against the Storm. Colella has 11 goals and 15 assists in 49 games this season. Fedor Gordeev tallied two assists in the last game and has three goals and seven assists in 48 games thus far.
C.J. Clarke, Samuel Duchesne, Jake Durham, Fedor Gordeev and Jack Phibbs are five first-time eligible players to be selected in the NHL Draft in June 2017.
In net, Connor Hicks is 15-10-0-2 and is statistically the ninth-best goaltender in the OHL with a 3.16 GAA and a .882 SAV%. Garrett Forrest is 10-10-1-2 and is statistically the 12th-best goaltender in the OHL with a 3.27 GAA along with a .892 SAV%. Forrest made 37 saves on 39 shots in the Firebirds victory over the Storm on Sunday.
NHL: The Firebirds currently have two players that have signed contracts with NHL clubs. Forward Kole Sherwood signed a three-year NHL contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets (July 2015) and defenseman Jalen Smereck signed a three-year NHL contract with the Arizona Coyotes (October 2016). Flint’s Nicholas Caamano was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the most recent NHL Draft in June 2016. Along with Caamano, Sherwood and Smereck, four more Flint Firebirds competed in NHL training camps this fall: Everett Clark (St. Louis Blues), Connor Hicks (Detroit Red Wings), Luke Kirwan (Detroit Red Wings) and Alex Peters (Carolina Hurricanes).
Owen Sound (36-14-1-1, 4th Western Conference):
Petrus Palmu is eighth among all OHL skaters in scoring and leads the Attack with 67 points. Palmu is currently riding a four-game point-streak where he has tallied eight points (1G, 7A) in that time. Nick Suzuki extended his point-streak to eight points (6G, 2A) in his last four contests and recorded a hat-trick in the last game against the Kingston Frontenacs on Sunday. Suzuki has racked-up the 10th-most points in the OHL with 65. Kevin Hancock is third on the Attack’s roster in points and has seven points (2G, 5A) in his last four games. Hancock has 24 goals and 40 points in 52 games thus far.
Seven Attack players are also ranked among the top North American skaters for the upcoming 2017 NHL Draft which takes place June 23-24 in Chicago. Nick Suzuki (#16), Jonah Gadjovich (#60), Markus Phillips (#62), Maksim Sushko (#73) and Sean Durzi (#139), Kevin Hancock (#148) and Zachary Roberts (#180) are ranked among North American skaters respectively.
Between-the-pipes, Michael McNiven (Montreal Canadiens) is statistically the second-best goaltender in the OHL with a 2.21 GAA and a .919 SAV%. McNiven is tied for the third-most shutouts in the league with four, including a 26-save shutout in his last outing against the Frontenacs on Sunday. Emanuel Vella is 7-3-0-1 with a 2.95 GAA and a .884 SAV%.
NHL: Three players on the Owen Sound roster have been drafted by NHL clubs consisting of Jacob Friend (Los Angeles Kings), Michael McNiven (Montreal Canadiens) and Matt Schmalz (Los Angeles Kings).
16 notable Owen Sound Attack alumni to play in the NHL are Sean Avery, Kirk Maltby, Wayne Primeau, Kevin Weekes, Paul Bissonnette, Mark Giordano, Trevor Lewis, Brian McGrattan, Andrew Shaw, Brad Richardson, Stefan Ruzicka, Cody Ceci, Bobby Ryan, Andrej Sekera, Wayne Simmonds and Joel Ward.
Wednesday evening’s contest against the Attack can be heard live on 1330 AM WTRX Sports Radio in Flint & Mid-Michigan and around the world online on the Sports Xtra 1330 Radio app here. Pregame coverage with Dominic Hennig will begin 35 minutes prior to puck drop at 6:30 p.m. Additionally, the game will be televised live in Owen Sound on channel 53/510 (HD) for Rogers TV cable subscribers and throughout the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 439 for Rogers TV subscribers and 480 for Cogeco TV cable subscribers. Fans can also watch the game live online at www.ohllive.com or on the OHL Live App.
Next Home Game:
The Firebirds are back at the Dort Federal Event Center this Saturday, Feb. 18 as Flint hosts the Sarnia Sting for a 7 p.m. puck drop. Saturday’s contest is “Flint Tropics Night”, where the Firebirds will be wearing special teal and orange jersey’s, similar to the movie Semi-Pro, starring Will Ferrell. The first 2,000 fans through the doors will receive free lays and there will also be a live jersey auction immediately following the game where fans can bid on the game-worn “Flint Tropics Jerseys.”
Single game tickets for the Flint Firebirds 2016-17 season are $12 for Bronze, $15 for Silver, $19 for Gold and $25 for VIP seating. All seats are reserved / assigned seating. Parking has been reduced to $5 dollars which is new this season. Fans can purchase tickets at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office or online by clicking ticketmaster.com.
Photo Credit: Rena Laverty
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