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Preview: Firebirds Host Erie Otters Friday in Flint
Ron Crichton
Game 38: Flint Firebirds (18-17-0-2) vs. Erie Otters (25-8-2-1)
Date | Time Friday, Jan. 6| 7:00 p.m.
Location Flint, Mich. | Dort Federal Event Center (Directions)
Tickets Ticketmaster.com | (810) 744-0580
Promotions – Mickey Redmond Autograph Signing
– Firebirds Fight Hunger for Food Bank
TV – OHL Action Pak: Rogers TV ch. 440 & Cogeco TV ch. 481 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
Live Stats Here
Game Notes Here
Social Media @FlintFirebirds   | Facebook | Instagram

Flint, Mich. – After posting a fourth-straight victory over the Sarnia Sting Wednesday, the Flint Firebirds return to home-ice when they face the Erie Otters on Friday night. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at the newly renovated Dort Federal Event Center in the second of four games between the two club’s this season.

The Firebirds are 4-6-0-0 in their past 10 games and hold an impressive 12-6-0-0 record on home-ice. Although Erie holds the best home record in the OHL at 18-0-1-1, the Otters struggle on the road where they are 7-8-1-0. Erie has lost their last two games away from the Erie Insurance Arena, allowing five goals in both contests. All-time, Flint is 2-2-0-1 against the Otters through five games and split the season series in Flint 1-1 last season.

The Otters won the lone game played this season, 5-3, on Oct. 8 in Erie, Penn. Ryan Moore tallied two goals in the contest and Luke Kirwan added one but the effort was not enough. Garrett Forrest made 22 saves on 23 shots after replacing Connor Hicks in net that night. (Watch Highlights)

On the penalty kill, the Firebirds have killed 30 of their last 32 penalties, operating at 94% in their last seven games. Flint’s penalty kill ranks 12th in the OHL overall, but are fifth-best while operating on home-ice at 86.4%. However, Erie boasts the OHL’s best power-play, scoring 25% of the time, posting 34 goals on the man-advantage in 36 games this season.

Erie was one of two OHL teams to have three players competing in the 2017 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Montreal and Toronto. Taylor Raddysh and Dylan Strome (Canada) and Erik Cernak (Slovakia) were among the 19 OHL players and 55 CHL players to represent their countries. Erie Head Coach Kris Knoblauch was also an assistant with Team Canada during the tournament. Team USA topped Canada for the Gold Medal in a shootout, 5-4, in an instant classic at a sold-out Bell Centre (capacity 21,288) in Montreal last night.

Promotions:
Join us Friday night as fans will be treated to a special guest appearance from Mickey Redmond, a former player and now TV Analyst on FOX Sports Detroit for the Detroit Red Wings.

NHL Hall of Famer, Redmond, a two-time 50-goal scorer for the Red Wings will be in attendance for an autograph session on the arena concourse from 6-7:30 p.m. The autograph session is available to all fans with a suggested $5 donation to the Firebirds Charitable Foundation. (More Information)

Additionally, during the month of January, fans may bring in three or more canned or boxed food items to receive a complimentary Silver Level ticket. Fans may drop off donated food at the Flint Firebirds Merchandise Store to receive the discount.

Players to Watch:

Flint Firebirds (18-17-0-2, 8th Western Conference):
For the second time this season, Captain Alex Peters recording a three-point night Wednesday en-route to the Firebirds 5-4 victory in Sarnia. Peters now has three goals and 12 assists in 37 games played this season. Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) tallied two assists Wednesday and has five points (1G, 4A) in his last three games. Sherwood has 14 goals and 21 assists in 33 games played. Everett Clark picked-up one goal and one assist and has 10 goals and 13 assists in 34 games. Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) scored his fifth goal of the season vs. Sarnia and has 20 points in 34 games played. Nicholas Caamano (Dallas Stars) scored the game-winning-goal in his last game against the Sting and has 16 goals and 18 assists in 37 games. Moore has 15 points in the last 17 and is 10th among all OHL skaters with 45 points. Moore is also currently in a tie for third most shorthanded goals scored in the OHL with three this season. Henderson leads all OHL defensemen in points and is second on Flints’ roster in scoring with eight goals and 30 assists in 37 games this season.

Samuel Duchesne, Jake Durham, Fedor Gordeev and Jack Phibbs are first-time eligible players to be selected in the NHL Draft in June 2017.

In net, Connor Hicks is 11-7-0-2 and statistically the seventh-best goaltender in the OHL with a 2.97 GAA along with a .888 SAV%. Hicks made 21 saves on 25 shots in the last game against Sarnia. Garrett Forrest is 6-9-0-0 with a .881 SAV% and a 3.51 GAA.

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).

Erie Otters (25-8-2-1, 3rd Western Conference):
Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks) leads the all OHL skaters in scoring with 32 goals and 33 assists in 32 games. DeBrincat currently averages over two points per game and has 12 points (6G, 6A) in his last seven contests. Second on the Otter’s roster is Taylor Raddysh (Tampa Bay Lightning) who is tied for second among all OHL skaters in points with 61. Third on the team in scoring is Kyle Maksimovich who tallied an assist in his last game and has 10 goals and 30 assists in 36 games played. As stated above, Dylan Strome and Head Coach Kris Knoblauch have been away from the Otters since early December and will unlikely be with the team Friday in Flint.

On Jan. 2, Erie acquired F Warren Foegele from the Kingston Frontenacs for Brett Neumann and a third-round pick in 2021.

Between-the-pipes, Troy Timpano is 23-3-0-0 is statistically the third-best goaltender in the OHL with a 2.36 GAA and a .911 SAV%. Timpano made 25 saves on 27 shots in Erie’s last game against the Niagara IceDogs. Jake Lawr is 2-4-1-0 with a .851 SAV% along with a 3.97 GAA.

NHL: Seven players on the Otters roster have been drafted by NHL teams consisting of Erik Cernak (Los Angeles Kings), Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks), Warren Foegele (Carolina Hurricanes), Kyle Pettit (Vancouver Canucks), Taylor Raddysh (Tampa Bay Lightning), Jordan Sambrook (Detroit Red Wings) and Dylan Strome (Arizona Coyotes).

34 notable Otter’s alumni to play in the NHL are Nikita Alexeev, Jesse Black, Michael Blunden, Brad Boyes, Chris Campoli, Tim Connolly, Carlo Colaiacovo, Scott Dobben, Josh Disher, Sean Dixon, Patrick Dovigi, Chester Gallant, Mitch Gaulton, Luke Gazdic, Jaroslav Janus, Josh Kidd, Brian Lee, Connor McDavid, Greg McKegg, Adam Munro, Adam Nittel, Ryan O’Marra, Ryan O’Reilly, Nick Palmieri, Jeff Paul, Anthony Peluso, Colin Pepperall, Geoff Peters, Jason Robinson, Michael Rupp, David Shields, Zack Torquato, Jason Ward and Andrew Yogan.


Broadcast Coverage:
Friday night’s contest against Erie 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 & Jim Duhart 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 440 for Rogers TV cable subscribers and channel 481 for Cogeco TV subscribers. (Broadcast Information). Fans can also watch the game live online at www.ohllive.com or on the OHL Live App.


Upcoming Home Game:
The Flint Firebirds return home to the Dort Federal Event Center Saturday, Jan. 7 to host the Guelph Storm. During the month of January, fans may bring in three or more canned or boxed food items to receive a complimentary Silver Level ticket. Fans may drop off donated food at the Flint Firebirds Merchandise Store to receive the discount.

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. Prices are unchanged from last season and 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: Ron Crichton

For media inquiries, contact:

Dominic Hennig
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club
dominic@flintfirebirds.com
(810) 519-9347

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