Preview: Firebirds Battle Erie at OHL Preseason Showcase Saturday
|Flint Firebirds (0-1-0-0) vs. Erie Otters (1-0-0-0)|
|Date | Time||Saturday, September 2nd | 7:30 p.m.|
|Location||Buffalo, NY | HarborCenter (Directions)|
|Tickets||Tickets.com | (716) 855-4767|
|Radio||WQUS 103.1-FM (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show at 7:00p|
|Radio (Mobile)||US 103 App: Android | iPhone/iPad|
|Social Media||@FlintFirebirds | Facebook | Instagram|
Buffalo, NY – Saturday, the Flint Firebirds will play their second pre-season game at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, NY, as the first annual OHL Showcase continues through the holiday weekend. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. against the Erie Otters.
The Firebirds dropped their preseason opener to the Windsor Spitfires 4-3 despite a late comeback effort on Friday.
Hunter Holmes, Ty Dellandrea and Kyle Harris scored single tallies. Dennis Busby, Jake Durham, Fedor Gordeev, Zack Pilon, C. J. Clarke and Ethan Keppen pitched in with an assist each.
Firebird goaltender Garrett Forrest started in net playing the first half (30:25) of the game stopping 25 of 27 shots. Luke Cavallin played the second half (28:23) and turned away 11 of 13 shots in his first OHL action.
The Firebirds scored the only power play goal of the game when Ty Dellandrea lit the lamp late in the second period. Flint went one-for-five with the man advantage and was perfect on a pair of shorthanded chances for Windsor on the penalty kill, including a five minute match penalty in the middle frame. Each team had 40 shots on goal.
Rookies Nikita Alexandrov, Luke Cavallin, Marcus Gretz, Kyle Harris, Ethan Keppen, Zack Pilon and Jack Wismer made their OHL debut.
Flint will face Windsor six times during the regular season including three games at home at the Dort Federal Event Center.
Players to Watch
Flint Firebirds (Pre-Season 0-1-0-0)
During training camp, intrasquad games and the first preseason game, some of the Firebirds veterans have shined in the early going.
Maurizio Colella has been very productive and has put up multiple points in two of the three team scrimmages. The Tottenham, Ontario native, who was acquired in a trade last January from the North Bay Battalion, scored a goal and two assists in Team Blue’s 4-2 win over Team White, and then followed that up with a four point effort in the Firebirds’ 3rd annual “Blue vs. White Game.” In the team’s first preseason game he had three shots on goal. The six-foot, 190-pound left winger appeared in 30 games for the Firebirds following the trade and was almost a point-per-game player with 12 goals 13 assists for 25 points. He added two goals and two assists in five playoff games for Flint.
C.J. Clarke has scored in all three games he has played. In the Blue/Grey game the Mississauga, Ont. native netted a goal and two assists, followed by 2 goals and 4 points in the Blue/White game. In the first preseason game he added an assist with 6 shots on goal. Clarke was also acquired in a trade this past January from the Peterborough Petes and scored six goals along with 11 points. In 29 games last season with Flint he tallied three goals and 10 assists.
Jake Durham has also hit the scoresheet with regulatory in the early going, notching four assists in three games including an assist in the preseason opener. Last season Durham put up some decent numbers in his first campaign with the Firebirds as he found the back of the net for 10 goals and added six assists. Durham is from Port Perry, Ont. and was originally drafted by Hamilton. He joined the Firebirds as a free agent. He checks in at five-foot-11 and 194 pounds and adds a physical presence when on the ice.
Ty Dellandrea was a first round selection (fifth-overall) for the Firebirds in 2016. Like Durham, Dellandrea is also from Port Perry, Ontario and put up some good numbers as a rookie last year with 13 goals and 11 assists. He scored one goal in the pre-season opener against Windsor with a total of five shots on goal. Prior to that, in the intrasquad games he totaled a pair of goals along with three assists and looks like he is in for a big season.
Erie Otters (Pre-Season 1-0-0-0)
The Erie Otters won the J.Ross Robertson Cup but the OHL champs fell one game short of winning the Memorial Cup losing to the Windsor Spitfires in the final.
This season brings on a whole set of roster changes due to many players moving on to the pro level and the changes didn’t stop there as former Otters’ head coach Kris Knoblauch took a job with the Philadelphia Flyers as well. Chris Hartsburg becomes the eighth head coach in the Erie Otters history and brings on a great deal of experience including a one year stint with the Otters as an assistant coach in 2013-14.
On the player front some big names are gone, Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks), Dylan Strome (Arizona Coyotes), Anthony Cirelli (Tampa Bay Lightning), Warren Foegele (Carolina Hurricanes) and Darren Raddysh, have all moved on with the hope of someday playing in the NHL.
This season look for Kyle Maksimovich, Taylor Raddysh, Ivan Lodnia, Troy Timpano and Jordan Sambrook as the key go-to guys. A couple of new players to watch includes 2017 first round pick (21st overall) center Emmett Sproule and round-one Import selection (57th overall) Stephane Patry, who also plays the pivot position.
Saturday evening’s contest against the Otters can be heard live on 103.1 FM in Flint & Mid-Michigan and around the world online on www.us103.com or by downloading the US 103 App here. Pregame coverage with Dominic Hennig will begin 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 7 p.m. Fans can also watch the game live online via BoxCast here.
Upcoming Home Games:
The Flint Firebirds will host one exhibition game this pre-season on Saturday, September 16th against the Saginaw Spirit. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at the Firebirds’ official practice facility, Iceland Arenas on Elms Rd. in Clayton Township. Tickets are $10 for general admission seating.
Single game tickets can be purchased at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office and online at Ticketmaster.com. The Dort Federal Event Center Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Firebirds’ 3rd-Annual Opening Night takes place on Saturday, September 30th against the Ottawa 67’s. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. at the newly renovated Dort Federal Event Center. Single-game tickets will be on-sale starting September 9th at 10 a.m.
For more information on tickets for the 2017-18 Flint Firebirds campaign, contact Dominic Gutierrez at (810) 201-6904 or email@example.com.
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