Guelph, Ont. – The Flint Firebirds are set to face the Guelph Storm on the road Friday night. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) at the Sleeman Centre (capacity 4,715) in Guelph.
Friday marks the second of four meetings between the two clubs this season, and the first of two in Guelph. All-time, the Firebirds are 8-3-2-0 against the Storm. In away contests, Flint holds a record of 4-2-0-0 versus Guelph. Of the 13 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.
Friday also marks the possible return of three Firebirds to the line up. After sustaining an injury in just the third game of the season to eventually miss 18 consecutive games, Riley McCourt is ready to be back in the orange and navy blue. Michael Bianconi and Evan Vierling’s last game with Flint was on Oct. 28, missing seven games as the two were representing their nation at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Most recently, Flint has won two of their last four games headed into Friday night’s contest in Guelph. The Storm have lost four of their past five games but three of them where in extra time. Guelph is currently the fourth-place team in the OHL’s Western Conference with a 10-5-3-2 record.
On special teams, Guelph has the OHL’s second-best power play on home ice, converting on 35.1% of their opportunities. The Firebirds are still looking for their first power-play tally on the road. The Storm have killed 71.4% of their penalties successfully at home, which ranks 19th in the league. Flint has killed penalties at a rate of 78.6% on the road, which is 12th best in the OHL.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (2-18-1-0, 5th West Division):
Flint is led by a pair of forwards who hail from Port Perry, Ontario, consisting of team captain Ty Dellandrea and assistant captain Jake Durham. Dellandrea continues to lead the ‘Birds in offensive production and is now riding an 11-game point streak (6G, 11A) into Friday’s tilt. In total, he has 22 points in 21 games and has goals in five of his last eight. Durham has been red-hot of late, lighting the lamp eight times in the past five games is currently on a five-game goal scoring streak and a seven-game point streak (9G, 5A). In total, Durham has a team-high 11 goals and another eight assists for 19 points in 21 games. Ethan Keppen and Eric Uba continue to provide offense, each with seven goals and five assists for the season.
From the blue line, Fedor Gordeev has the highest points total among the defenseman. He scored his first goal of the season on Saturday, and also has 10 assists for 11 total points in 17 games played. Gordeev is on a four game point streak and has points in eight of his last 10 games. Newcomer Vladislav Kolyachonok has eight points in nine games since joining the Flint defense. On Thursday, Kolyachonok was upgraded to an ‘A’ rating on NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch list for November, projecting him to be a potential first round NHL Draft pick.
Luke Cavallin backstopped Flint to their first two wins in back-to-back starts last week. For the season, he has a 5.31 GAA and a .861 SAV% across 14 appearances. Veteran netminder Emanuel Vella holds a 5.70 goals-against average (GAA) and a .858 save percentage (SAV%) in 13 appearances.
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, forward Ethan Keppen, and defenseman Vladislav Kolyachonok were named to November’s NHL Central Scouting’s North American ‘Players to Watch’ list, released on Thursday.
Guelph Storm (10-5-3-2, 3rd Midwest Division):
Nate Schnarr (Arizona Coyotes) if off to a hot start this season. His balanced offensive attack has produced 14 goals and 14 assists for 28 total points in 19 games. His seven power-play goals have him tied for second in the OHL. Defenseman Ryan Merkley (San Jose Sharks) sits second in offensive production. He has lit the lamp four times and picked up a team-high 21 assists in 18 games played this season. Merkley ranks first in the league with 12 power-play assists. Isaac Ratcliffe (Philadelphia Flyers) rounds out the top three with 14 goals and 10 assists in 20 games.
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 round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Between the Pipes, Anthony Popovich has appeared in 15 games, picking up eight wins. He has a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.22 and .896 save percentage (SAV%). Nico Daws carries a 4.28 GAA with a .859 SAV% through five appearances. Daws has two wins on the campaign.
NHL: Guelph has seven players with NHL ties, consisting of Cam Hillis (Montreal Canadiens), Alexey Toropchenko (St. Louis Blues), Liam Hawel (Dallas Stars), Nate Schnarr (Arizona Coyotes), Isaac Ratcliffe (Philadelphia Flyers), Dmitri Samorukov (Edmonton Oilers) and Ryan Merkley (San Jose Sharks). In addition, Tag Bertuzzi, Nicolas Daws, and Keegan Stevenson were named to November’s NHL Central Scouting’s North American ‘Players to Watch’ list, released on Thursday.
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.
Friday 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 at 7:30 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 448 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 Friday’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 Wednesday, Nov. 21, when the club hosts the Kitchener Rangers for another ‘Winning Wednesday.’ 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