Guelph, Ont. – The Flint Firebirds will play their third game in less than five days when the club travels to Guelph to face the Storm Monday afternoon. Puck drop for the Presidents’ Day (USA) and Family Day (Canada) contest is set for 2 p.m. in front of a an expected sell-out crowd at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph.
There are 12 players with NHL ties between Flint and Guelph’s active rosters. Friday marks the second of four meetings between the two clubs this season, and the second of two in Guelph. All-time, the Firebirds are 8-4-2-0 against the Storm. In away contests, Flint holds a record of 4-3-0-0 versus Guelph. Of the 14 regular-season OHL games played between them, five games have been decided in overtime.
In the first meeting this season, the Storm skated away with a 6-2 victory at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center on Oct. 6. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) and Jacob Winterton scored for Flint. Isaac Ratcliffe (Philadelphia Flyers) had a three-point night to lead Guelph, scoring once and adding a pair of helpers. The most recent game was on Nov. 16 where Guelph won 8-2 after jumping out to a 5-0 lead (Watch Highlights).
Most recently, Flint won their last game on the ice Saturday, posting a 3-2 overtime victory over the Owen Sound Attack on the Firebirds’ 4th-annual Flint Tropics Night. Jake Durham scored the game winning goal for the Firebirds just 17 seconds into the extra frame. Guelph has dropped their past two games, 6-1 in London on Wednesday and 5-2 on home-ice Friday vs. Kitchener. Guelph is currently in fourth-place in the 10-team Western Conference with a 29-16-6-4 record. The Firebirds are in 10th-place with an 11-43-4-0 record.
On special teams, Guelph has the OHL’s fourth-best power play, converting on 26.1% of their opportunities. The Firebirds are operating at 19th in the OHL scoring at 14.1%. The Storm have killed 78.7% of their penalties successfully, which ranks 12th in the league. Flint has killed penalties at a rate of 68.8%, which is 19th best in the OHL.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (9-40-4-0, 5th West Division):
Second-year forward Ethan Keppen remains red-hot, now with eight goals in the past eight games. He has picked up points in 18 of his last 20 contests. Overall, he ranks third on the squad with 49 points (25G, 24A) through 58 games-played. Firebirds’ captain Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) leads Flint in assists (37) and points (56) through 50 games. Alternate captain Jake Durham leads Flint in goals (34) and is second on the Firebirds’ roster with 54 points in 58 games. Since Dec. 16, Jack Wismer has tallied 23 points (11G, 12A) in 24 games.
Riley McCourt tops Flint’s defensive troops in goals-scored (6), and now has 28 points in 40 games. He has points in nine of his last 11 contests. Blue-liner Vladislav Kolyachonok tops the freshman class of Firebirds and is 13th among all OHL rookies with 27 points (4G, 23A) in 44 games-played.
In net, Luke Cavallin has compiled a 5.50 GAA and a .859 SAV% across 31 appearances. Emanuel Vella holds a 4.80 goals-against average (GAA) and a .876 save percentage (SAV%) in 36 appearances.
NHL: The Firebirds have two players with NHL ties consisting of Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes) and Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars). In addition, Luke Cavallin, Kyle Harris, Ethan Keppen, Vladislav Kolyachonok, Eric Uba, Cody Morgan, Emmet Pierce and Jacob Winterton are eight first-time eligible skaters for the upcoming NHL Draft in June. Cavallin, Keppen, Kolyachonok and Uba were among the 50 OHL Players in NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft.
Despite Flint playing in just their fourth season in the OHL, Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes) and Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) are two former Firebirds to play in the NHL. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) and Vili Saarijarvi (Detroit Red Wings) have played in NHL pre-season contests.
Guelph Storm (10-5-3-2, 3rd Midwest Division):
Nate Schnarr is 10th among all OHL skaters and leads Guelph with 79 points (27G, 52A) in 52 games this season. Liam Hawel (Dallas Stars) and Nick Suzuki (Montreal Canadiens) are both tied for second with 64 points. Hawel has 31 goals and 33 assists in 53 games and Suzuki has 27 goals and 37 assists in 46 games. Sean Durzi leads Guelph on the backend with 32 points (8G, 24A) in 30 games. Danill Shayka leads Guelph’s freshman class with 13 points (5G, 8A) in 44 games.
Former Flint Firebirds defenseman Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) has six points (2G, 4A) in 18 games with Guelph since leaving Flint.
Between the Pipes, Anthony Popovich has the OHL’s 11th-best GAA at 3.37 and the 12th-best SAV% at .897 through 43 games. Nico Daws carries a 3.50 GAA with a .886 SAV% through 15 appearances.
NHL: Guelph has 11 players with NHL ties, consisting of Sean Durzi (Los Angeles Kings), Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs), MacKenzie Entiwstle (Chicago Blackhawks), Liam Hawel (Dallas Stars), Cam Hillis (Montreal Canadiens), Markus Phillips (Los Angeles Kings), Issac Ratcliffe (Philadelphia Flyers), Dmitri Samorukov (Edmonton Oilers), Nate Schnarr (Arizona Coyotes), Nick Suzuki (Montreal Canadiens), Alexey Toropchenko (St. Louis Blues).
12 notable Guelph Storm skaters to play in the NHL are Craig Anderson, Todd Bertuzzi, Tyler Bertuzzi, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Dan Cloutier, Drew Doughty, Aaron Downey, Robby Fabbri, Daniel Girardi, Manny Malhotra and Richard Panik.
Monday afternoon’s contest can be heard live on the radio throughout Flint & Mid-Michigan on US 103.1 FM, online at www.us103.com or by downloading the US 103 app here. Dominic Hennig will call the play-by-play action with pre-game coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m.
The game will be televised live in Guelph on channel 20 / 510 (HD) for Rogers TV cable subscribers. It will also be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 446 for both Rogers TV and Cogeco TV cable subscribers. OHL fans with cable television in Ontario can add the OHL Action Pak to their television plan to catch the Firebirds in action, home or away all season long. Along with Monday’s game, 65 of the Firebirds’ 68 games throughout the 2018-19 season are also scheduled to be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak.
All Flint Firebirds home and away games throughout the 2018-19 season can be watched anywhere in the world online on www.ohllive.com or on the OHL Live app. OHL Live is a league video streaming platform that delivers high quality live and on-demand coverage of all regular season and playoff games annually. The cost is $6.99 per game, $69.99 for Flint Firebirds away games only, $179.99 for all 68 home and away Firebirds games and $279.99 for all 1,360 OHL games throughout the 2018-19 season.
Next Home Game:
The Firebirds will return home to the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center this Saturday, Feb. 23, when the club hosts Guelph at 7 p.m. on UAW/United Way Night. All UAW members will receive a $5 discounted silver level ticket with valid ID at the Dort Federal Box Office.
Single game tickets for all Firebirds games are $12 Bronze, $16 Silver, $20 Gold and $26 VIP seating (Seating Chart). All seats are reserved / assigned seating. Fans can purchase tickets by calling (810) 744-0580, in-person at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office or online at ticketmaster.com here.
For more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club