Preview: Firebirds Battle In-State Rival Saginaw Spirit Friday
|Game 54: Flint Firebirds (26-22-1-4) at Saginaw Spirit (20-26-6-2)|
|Date | Time||Friday, Feb. 17 | 7:05 p.m.|
|Location||Saginaw, Mich. | Dow Event Center (capacity 5,527)|
|Tickets||Ticketmaster.com | (989) 497-7747|
|TV||– OHL Action Pak: Rogers TV ch. 435 & Cogeco TV ch. 476 Live (Ontario)
– CW WBSF: Charter ch. 17 / 717 (HD) & Comcast ch. 15 / 236 (HD) Sunday at 12 p.m. (Mid-Michigan)
– Comcast ch. 900 Sunday at 3 p.m. & Monday at 6 p.m. (Michigan)
|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 (Tropics Night Info.)|
|Social Media||@FlintFirebirds | Facebook | Instagram|
Saginaw, Mich. – The Flint Firebirds are set to play the sixth of eight games this season against in-state rival, the Saginaw Spirit, this Friday, Feb. 17. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. at the Dow Event Center (capacity 5,527) in Saginaw, Mich.
Flint has a 5-1-0-1 record in their last seven games and enter Friday night’s contest winning six of the past seven games against the Saginaw Spirit. In the most recent contest between the two clubs, Flint scored a franchise-high 11 goals, including a five-goal game by Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) in an 11-2 victory in Saginaw (Highlights). The Firebirds hold a 4-1 series lead in the best-of-eight Coors Light I-75 Divide Cup race this season and have won nine of 12 total contests since the rivalry was renewed last September. Additionally, through the past 11 games between the two clubs, more than 37,000 fans have experienced the renewed Flint & Saginaw rivalry, averaging 3,360 spectators each contest. Ryan Moore and Kole Sherwood have combined for 20 points in five games against the Spirit this season.
The Firebirds are 10-14-0-3 on the road this campaign but have won two of their past three contests away from Flint. The Firebirds are now 5-1-0-1 in their last seven games, earning 11 out of 14 points in that span. Saginaw lost their previous contest, 3-2, against the Mississauga Steelheads on Sunday. The Spirit are 14-9-3-0 on home-ice this season and are 3-2-0-0 in their past five games at the Dow Event Center.
The Firebirds sit one spot ahead of the Spirit in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and are one point behind the Sarnia Sting in seventh-place, but Flint has two games in-hand. Flint has 57 points in 53 games, while the Spirit have 48 points in 54 games thus far.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (26-22-1-4, 8th Western Conference):
Nick Caamano, Ryan Moore and Kole Sherwood are three Flint Firebirds to watch Friday night.
Despite his 14-game point streak being stymied last game against the Attack, Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) has racked-up 31 points (14G, 17A) in his past 15 games. He has 13 goals in his past 11 contests and has 27 goals and 34 assists in 45 games this season.
Ryan Moore is fifth among all OHL skaters in scoring and leads the Firebirds with 70 points (32G, 38A). Although Moore’s six-game point-streak was snapped in Owen Sound Wednesday, he has 13 goals in the last 15 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 15 contests and has seven goals in his past nine games. Caamano is third on the Firebirds’ roster with 26 goals and 24 assists in 52 games played.
Additionally, Ty Dellandrea has four points (2G, 2A) in his last three contests and has eight goals and eight assists in 42 games this journey.
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, 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%. Connor Hicks is 15-11-0-2 and is statistically the ninth-best goaltender in the OHL with a 3.19 GAA and a .882 SAV%. Hicks made 31 saves on 35 shots in the Firebirds loss to Owen Sound on Wednesday.
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).
Saginaw Spirit (20-26-6-2, 9th Western Conference):
Leading the Spirit in scoring is Hayden Hodgson with 30 goals and 26 assists in 53 games played. Hodgson tallied an assist in the Spirit’s last game against the Mississauga Steelheads on Sunday. Filip Hronek (Detroit Red Wings) is tied for ninth among all OHL defenseman with 42 points (9G, 33A) in 45 games this season. Brady Gilmour is third on the team in scoring after burying two goals in the last two games. Gilmour has 22 goals and 17 assists in 51 games thus far.
Cole Coskey (#96) is the lone Spirit player ranked among the top North American skaters for the upcoming 2017 NHL draft which takes place June 23-24 in Chicago.
Between the Pipes, Evan Cormier (New Jersey Devils) is 17-15-4-2 and started in the Spirit’s last game. Cormier made 28 saves on 31 shots in Saginaw’s loss to Mississauga. Cormier now has a 3.28 GAA and a .898 SAV. Rookie Brendan Bonello is 3-9-2-0 with a 4.80 GAA and a .850 SAV%.
NHL: Saginaw has four players that have been drafted by NHL clubs consisting of Evan Cormier (New Jersey Devils), Filip Hronek (Detroit Red Wings), Keaton Middleton (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Markus Niemelainen (Edmonton Oilers).
Eight notable NHL players from the Saginaw organization are Paul Bissonnette (Arizona Coyotes), T.J. Brodie (Calgary Flames), Ben Chiarot (Winnipeg Jets), Dalton Prout (Columbus Blue Jackets), Tom Pyatt (Ottawa Senators), Brandon Saad (Columbus Blue Jackets), Chris Thorburn (Winnipeg Jets) and Vincent Trocheck (Florida Panthers).
Friday night’s contest against Saginaw 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 throughout the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 435 for Rogers TV cable subscribers and channel 476 for Cogeco TV subscribers. Through Saginaw’s partnership, the game will be re-broadcast on CW WBSF Charter channel 17 / 717 (HD) & Comcast channel 15 / 236 (HD) Sunday at 12 p.m. throughout Mid-Michigan. Through the Firebirds partnership, the game will be re-broadcast throughout the state of Michigan on Comcast channel 900 Sunday at 3 p.m. & Monday at 6 p.m. (Broadcast Information). Fans can also watch the game live online at www.ohllive.com or on the OHL Live App.
Next Home Game:
The Flint Firebirds return home to the Dort Federal Event Center this Saturday, Feb. 18, for the second-annual “Flint Tropics Night.” Puck drop for the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) contest is set for 7 p.m. against the Sarnia Sting. Inspired by the movie “Semi-Pro” starring Will Ferrell, the Firebirds will be wearing special themed jerseys, pants and socks throughout the game that are sure to impress everyone in attendance. Immediately following the game, there will be a live jersey auction, giving fans an opportunity to take home the game-worn Flint Tropics jersey of their choice. Proceeds will be donated to the Firebirds Charitable Foundation which benefits local youth organizations throughout Mid-Michigan.
The first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive complimentary leis. Special video clips from the movie Semi Pro, tropical themed music, Flint Tropics merchandise and many more fun and entertaining events will take place throughout the night.
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.
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