Flint, Mich. – C.J. Clark registered his first career multi-goal game, Kole Sherwood buried the game-winning goal and Ryan Moore tallied two points as the Flint Firebirds defeated the Sarnia Sting by a score of 7-5 before more than 3,700 fans on the second-annual “Flint Tropics Night” at the Dort Federal Event Center Saturday night.
Jaden Lindo (Pittsburg Penguins) opened the scoring for the Sting 4:49 into the first frame when he buried his 16th goal of the season after he cleaned-up a rebound in front of the net, beating Garrett Forrest over his right-shoulder to earn Sarnia a 1-0 lead.
The Firebirds evened the score 1-1 after Ryan Moore netted his 33rd goal of the season on a five-on-three power-play after he finished-off a tic-tac-toe play backdoor. Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) received a pass from Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) on the left-side of the cage and promptly one-touched the puck cross-crease to Moore backdoor who found twine. Moore’s goal earned him 14 tallies in his past 17 games.
Jordan Kyrou (St. Louis Blues) lit-the-lamp with one second remaining in the opening frame after he one-timed a shot from the high-slot that beat Forrest glove-side for his 24th goal of the season on the power-play.
Sarnia led 2-1 after the first period despite being outshot 15-13.
The Firebirds knotted-up the game 2:19 into the second period when Ty Dellandrea scored his ninth goal of the season after he skated up the left-wing boards and fired a wrist-shot from the left-circle that beat Justin Fazio glove-side. After scoring on the play, Dellandrea has recorded five points in his previous five contests.
C.J. Clarke earned Flint their first lead of the contest 1:56 later after he corralled a loose puck in the slot roofed the puck over the right shoulder of Fazio for his seventh goal of the season.
The Firebirds scored their third goal in less than eight minutes when Clarke netted his second goal of the night at the 9:08 mark of the second frame. Clarke banged home a free puck in the slot past Fazio for a 4-2 lead.
Anthony Salinitri (Philadelphia Flyers) cut the deficit to one goal less than two minutes later when he buried his 20th goal of the season after he converted on a three-on-one opportunity. Salinitri received a pass from Jeff King at the right-circle and one-timed the puck over the left shoulder of Forrest to make it a one-goal game.
The Firebirds led 4-3 after 40 minutes of play.
Flint regained their two-goal lead 1:13 into the third period when Nicholas Caamano (Dallas Stars) scored his 27th goal of the season after Jake Durham fed him a bank-pass off the right-wall. Caamano made a power-move to the net and with patience, roofed the puck over a sprawling Fazio to earn the Firebirds a 5-3 lead. Dennis Busby recorded his third point of the night after assisting on the play.
Kyrou made it a one-goal game after an attempted clear out of the zone by Mathieu Henderson banked-in off Forrest’s back and into the net for his second goal of the night.
Sarnia tied the contest at the 11:32 mark of the third frame when Ruzicka netted his second goal of the night after he stole the puck on the right-wing boards and ripped a shot glove-side from the slot to even the score 5-5.
Sherwood scored the eventual game-winning goal for the Firebirds with 1:02 remaining in the game when he buried his 29th goal of the season. Sherwood fired a wrist-shot from the high-slot that beat Fazio five-hole to earn Flint a 6-5 lead. After scoring on the play, Sherwood has recorded 33 points (16G, 17A) in his last 17 contests and has 15 goals in his past 13 games.
The Firebirds sealed the game with 24 seconds remaining in the final frame after Maurizio Colella scored his 12th goal of the season from just in front of the penalty boxes into an empty net.
Flint outshot the Sting 49-36. The Firebirds were one-for-four on the power-play, while the Sting scored twice on four chances. Clarke collected first star honors after scoring twice. Moore earned the second star after scoring once and tallying an assist and Busby picked up the third star after racking-up three points. Forrest made 31 saves on 36 shots. The Firebirds improved their record to 5-1 against Sarnia this season. The two clubs will meet next on Feb. 25 and wrap-up the season series on Mar. 1.
Next up for Flint, the Firebirds will travel to Guelph Sunday afternoon to prepare for a Monday afternoon contest on ‘Family Day’ in Canada. Puck drop is set for 2 p.m. at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph, Ont.
Photo Credit: Amanada Ray / Flint Firebirds Hockey Club
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