Flint, Mich. – The Guelph Storm visit the Dort Federal Event Center for a Saturday night battle with the Flint Firebirds. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (ET). Firebirds’ mascot ‘Hot Wing’ will be celebrating his third birthday, with the first 500 fans receiving free pom-poms compliments of Perani’s Hockey World to commemorate the occasion. The first 1,000 fans will receive the official Flint Firebirds’ magnet schedule, courtesy of Health Alliance Plan (HAP) and Little Caesars Pizza.
Saturday marks the first of four regular-season meetings between the two clubs and the first of two in Flint. Last season, Flint picked up points in three of four games with the Storm, finishing the series 2-1-1-0. All-time, Flint is 7-4-1-0 against Guelph, and 3-2-1-0 on home ice.
Yesterday, the Firebirds had a rare Friday night without a game while the Guelph Storm fought to the end on home-ice, scoring with two seconds left in regulation to top Sarnia 6-5 before 3,385 fans at the Sleeman Centre.
There will be two players on the ice tonight that were selected in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft in June: Ty Dellandrea was picked 13th overall by the Dallas Stars and Ryan Merkley was selected 21st overall by the San Jose Sharks.
On special teams, Guelph comes to Flint with the OHL’s best power-play, scoring 35% of the time. The Firebirds have yet to find a goal while on the man-advantage. However, Guelph is 20th in the 20-team OHL on the penalty-kill, operating at 66.7%. The Firebirds are 18th at 73%.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (0-5-0-0, 10th Western Conference):
Jake Durham currently sits in a three-way tie for the lead among all players on the Flint roster with three points (1G, 2A) in five games. Ethan Keppen holds the early edge in goals-scored as the only player with three tallies in five contests. First-year forward Jacob Winterton also has three points, with two goals and one helper.
In net, Emanuel Vella holds a 6.45 goals-against average (GAA) and a .824 save percentage (SAV%) in five appearances. Cavallin has a 5.11 GAA and a 0.860 SAV% across three appearances, including stopping all 20 shots faced through two periods in Flint’s home opener this season.
NHL: The Firebirds have three players with NHL ties consisting of Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes), Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) and Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs). Additionally, five other Firebirds’ players attended NHL Camps: Hunter Holmes (Philadelphia Flyers), Riley McCourt (Dallas Stars), Hakon Nilsen (New York Islanders), Connor Roberts (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Emanuel Vella (New York Islanders). In addition, netminder Luke Cavallin and forward Ethan Keppen were named to NHL Central Scouting North American ‘Players to Watch’ list, released Oct 1.
Guelph Storm (3-1-1-0, 3rd Western Conference):
Arizona Coyotes’ prospect Nate Schnarr has jumped out to an impressive start this season, averaging more than two points per game thus far. Last night he picked up ‘First Star’ honors in a four-point (2G, 2A) performance against the Sarnia Sting. Overall, Schnarr has four goals and seven assists in five games played. Liam Hawel (Dallas Stars) ranks second on the squad with nine points (4G, 5A) in nine games. Isaac Ratcliffe has the most goals-scored for Guelph with five in five games, and has two assists for a total of seven points.
Daniil Chayka, a native of Moscow, Russia, leads all new Storm players with three points in four contests. The 6’2” left-handed rearguard was selected seventh overall in the first round of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. Chayka has already competed internationally for Russia.
Tag Bertuzzi is a second-year forward with Guelph. He is the third member of the Bertuzzi family to play for the Storm. Todd Bertuzzi was on the 1995 Storm team that advanced all the way to the OHL final. Tag’s cousin Tyler helped Guelph win the OHL championship and advance to the Memorial Cup final in 2014. Todd Bertuzzi was drafted in the first round of the 1993 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders, and went on to play in 1,159 games in the National Hockey League. His last five seasons were spent with the Detroit Red Wings before retiring at the conclusion of the 2013-14 campaign. Tyler Bertuzzi is a current member of the Detroit Red Wings, where he recently picked up his first goal of the season in the first regular-season contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Tyler has appeared in 56 NHL games and 137 AHL contests with the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Griffins since being selected 28th overall in the second found of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Between the Pipes, returning goaltender Anthony Popovich carried a heavy workload last season, appearing in 60 games and posting a 3.44 goals-against average (GAA) and a 0.902 save percentage (SAV%). He backstopped the storm to 29 wins in the campaign. So far this season, Popovich has appeared in four games and earned two victories with a 3.73 GAA and a .876 SAV%. He played last night in a 6 – 5 victory over the Sarnia Sting. Second-year netminder Nico Daws has played in one game this season, earning a victory over the Saginaw Spirit in overtime on September 29th. He has a 4.72 GAA with an SAV% of .848.
NHL: Guelph has seven players with NHL ties, including Liam Hawel (Dallas Stars), Cam Hillis (Montreal Canadiens), Ryan Merkley (San Jose Sharks), Isaac Ratcliffe (Philadelphia Flyers), Dmitri Samorukov (Edmonton Oilers), Nate Schnarr (Arizona Coyotes), and Alexey Toropchenko (St. Louis Blues). Additionally, Nicholas Daws, Mason Primeau, and Tag Bertuzzi were named to NHL Central Scouting North American ‘Players to Watch’ list, released Oct 1.
Saturday evening’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 begin 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 6:30 p.m.
The game will also be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 439 for Rogers TV cable subscribers and 480 for 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 Saturday’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 to the Dort Federal Event Center this Friday night, Oct 12, at 7 p.m. for a tilt with the North Bay Battalion. In celebration of the Greater Flint Area, the Firebirds are holding their inaugural ‘810 Night’ featuring the lowest ticket prices in franchise history of $8 Bronze Level tickets and $10 Silver Level tickets. Additionally, the first 810 fans will receive ‘810’ t-shirts compliments of PFCU, and there will be a 10% discount for fans in the Firebirds’ Merchandise Store, including $8 Firebirds’ glassware.
All 34 individual game tickets for the Firebirds’ 2018-19 season are on sale now and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com here. Single game tickets are $12 for bronze, $16 for silver, $20 for gold and $26 for VIP seating.
For more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club