Preview: Firebirds Set to Battle Guelph on Presidents’/Family Day Monday Afternoon
|Game 56: Flint Firebirds (27-23-1-4) at Guelph Storm (19-31-3-2)|
|Date | Time||Monday, Feb. 20 | 2:00 p.m.|
|Location||Guelph, Ont. | Sleeman Centre (capacity 4,715)|
|Tickets||Ticketmaster.com | (519) 837-9690|
|TV||– Rogers TV ch. 20 / 510 HD Live (Guelph)
– OHL Action Pak: Rogers TV ch. 431 & Cogeco TV ch. 483 Live (Ontario)
|Video Stream||OHL Live|
|Radio||WTRX 1330-AM (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show: 1:30p|
|Radio (Mobile)||Sports Xtra 1330 App: Android | iPhone/iPad|
|Next Home Game||Friday, Feb. 24 vs. North Bay (Tickets)|
|Social Media||@FlintFirebirds | Facebook | Instagram|
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 (U.S.) and Family Day (Can.) contest is set for 2 p.m. in front of a an expected sell-out crowd at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph.
Flint and Guelph will play their fourth and final game between each other this season with the Firebirds recording wins in the first three contests, 7-2 on Jan. 7 and 4-3 in overtime on Feb. 3 (Highlights). Flint won the most recent contest 4-2 on Feb. 12 at the Dort Federal Event Center. Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) has seven points in two games against the Storm this season and Ryan Moore has nine points in three games against Guelph, including a hat-trick on Feb. 12.
After posting a 7-5 victory against the Sarnia Sting on home-ice Saturday night, Flint is now 6-3-0-1 in their last 10 games, earning 13 out of a possible 20 points in that time. With the win, Flint overtook control of the seventh playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Flint owns a 10-15-0-3 record on the road this season, while Guelph is 11-12-1-1 on home-ice this campaign and 1-1-1-0 in their past three games at the Sleeman Centre. Despite the Firebirds having the 20th-ranked power-play in the OHL at 13.2%, Flint has lit-the-lamp four times with the man-advantage in their past five contests. The Storm lost their last game, 3-1, against the Windsor Spitfires on Saturday and are 3-6-1-0 is their past ten contests. Guelph averages the sixth-most penalty minutes per-game at 13.0, while Flint is 10th with 11.3 per-game.
Flint sits three spots ahead of Guelph in seventh-place. The Storm have 43 points in 55 games, while the Firebirds have 59 points in 55 games.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (27-23-1-4, 7th Western Conference):
Nick Caamano (Dallas Stars), Ryan Moore and Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) are the three Flint Firebirds to watch Monday afternoon.
After scoring the game-winning goal against Sarnia Saturday night, Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) has racked-up 34 points (16G, 18A) in his past 17 games. He has 15 goals in his past 13 contests and has 64 points in 47 games this season.
Ryan Moore is fifth among all OHL skaters in scoring and leads the Firebirds with 73 points (33G, 40A). Moore has 14 goals in the last 17 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 18 points (12G, 6A) in the last 17 contests and has eight goals in his past 11 games. Caamano is third on the Firebirds’ roster with 27 goals and 24 assists in 54 games played.
Additionally, C.J. Clark recorded his first career multi-goal game against Sarnia Saturday night and has eight goals and nine assists in 43 games played. Dennis Busby tallied three assists on Saturday and has 13 points in 49 games thus far. Ty Dellandrea buried his ninth goal of the season and has five points in his last five contests. Maurizio Colella lit-the-lamp against the Sting and has 12 goals and 16 assists in 52 games played. Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) tallied an assist last game and has 36 points in 52 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, 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%. Garrett Forrest is 11-11-1-2 and is statistically the 13th-best goaltender in the OHL with a 3.33 GAA along with a .891 SAV%. Forrest made 31 saves on 36 shots in the Firebirds win over Sarnia on Saturday.
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).
Guelph Storm (19-31-3-2, 10th Western Conference):
Isaac Ratcliffe leads the Storm in scoring with 23 goals and 21 assists in 54 games played. Rookie defenseman Ryan Merkley leads all rookie skaters in points with 42 and is second on Guelph’s roster with 10 goals and 32 assists in 49 games. Merkley has six points (3G, 3A) in his previous four games and was the first-pick overall in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection. Givani Smith (Detroit Red Wings) is third on the team in scoring and has strung-along a three-game point streak where he has recorded three points (2G, 1A). Smith has 22 goals and 15 assists in 52 games thus far.
Five Storm players are also ranked among the top North American skaters for the upcoming 2017 NHL Draft which takes place June 23-24 in Chicago. Isaac Ratcliffe (#20), Nate Schnarr (#32), Dmitri Samorukov (#122), Nicholas Deakin-Poot (#135) and Albert Michnac (#162) are ranked among North American skaters respectively.
Between-the-pipes, Liam Herbst is 13-18-3-1 with a 3.55 GAA and a .900 SAV%. Anthony Popovich is 6-13-0-1 and played in the Guelph’s last game. Popovich made 28 saves on 31 shots against the Spitfires and has a 4.74 GAA along with a .873 SAV%.
NHL: The lone player on Guelph that has been drafted by an NHL club is Givani Smith (Detroit Red Wings).
42 notable Guelph Storm alumni to play in the NHL are Craig Anderson, Jamie Arniel, Eric Beaudoin, Chris Beckford-Tseu, Ken Belanger, Todd Bertuzzi, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Michael Caruso, Dan Cloutier, Sylvain Cloutier, Jeff Cowan, Matt D’Agostini, Kevin Dallman, Drew Doughty, Aaron Downey, Dan Girardi, Chris Hajt, Dwayne Hay, Peter Holland, Greg Jacina, Cam Janssen, Kevin Klein, Manny Malhotra, Tom McCollum, Kent McDonnel, Brian McGrattan, Rumun Ndur, Jeff O’Neill, Dan Paille, Ryan Parent, Mike Prokopec, Matt Ryan, Martin St. Pierre, Charlie Stephens, Alek Stojanov, Danny Taylor, Fedor Tyutin, Ryan VandenBussche, Herbert Vasiljevs, Brian Wesenberg, Brian Willsie and Jamie Wright.
Monday afternoon’s contest against the Storm 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 1:30 p.m. Additionally, the game will be televised live in Guelph on channel 20/510 (HD) for Rogers TV cable subscribers and province-wide throughout Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 431 for Rogers TV subscribers and 483 for Cogeco TV cable subscribers. 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 Friday, Feb. 24 to host the North Bay Battalion. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. in the second and final meeting this season. The Firebirds are teaming up with Talk Today – The Canadian Mental Health Association and locally with Genesee Health System and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Genesee County (NAMI) for “Mental Health Awareness Night.” Additionally, Friday is also UM-Flint Night where $10 discounted tickets are available for all faculty, staff and student’s with valid identification. Saturday, the Firebirds are on home-ice vs. the Sarnia Sting. The Firebirds are teaming up with the United Auto Workers and the United Way for a fundraising night, featuring auction items on the arena concourse and 50-50 raffle’s throughout the game.
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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