Video: Firebirds earn point in back-and-forth thrilling contest Friday
Flint, Mich. – The Firebirds earned a point for the third-consecutive home game, taking Hamilton to overtime before the Bulldogs scored the final goal in extra time. Flint had the lead four different times in the contest, including the final three minutes of regulation. The Bulldogs tied the game with less than a minute remaining before sealing the outcome in overtime. Ty Dellandrea had a three-point night while Jake Durham, Riley McCourt and Jack Wismer each earned two points in the contest. Luke Cavallin stopped 35 of 41 shots. For the visitors, Arthur Kaliyev recorded four points, scoring twice and adding two assists to lead Hamilton.
The Firebirds wasted no time getting their offense rolling. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) emerged deep into the Hamilton zone with a winger on each side of him and only netminder Zachary Roy to beat. Flint’s captain waited until the last possible second before dishing the puck to his left, where Jake Durham one-timed it home for his team-leading 27th of the season just 41 seconds into regulation. Then, a mishandled puck in the defensive end allowed Jan Jenik (Arizona Coyotes) to tie the game at 15:28.
Flint recaptured the lead when Riley McCourt hit Kolyachonok with a tape-to-tape, cross-ice pass. Kolyachonok gave a head-fake toward the far side as he lifted a wrister just under the crossbar, near-side. It was his second goal of the season, scored at 19:02. Dellandrea earned the second assist on the play. After that, another broken play behind the Flint net allowed Hamilton to respond quickly. Isaac Nurse netted his seventh of the campaign at 19:30, assisted by Eric Henderson. First-period shots were 17 – 15, in advantage for the Firebirds.
The Bulldogs claimed their first lead of the contest at 7:41 of the middle frame with a power-play tally. Arthur Kaliyev scored his 32nd of the season on a back-door play from the inner edge of the left circle. Assists were credited to Matthew Strome (Philadelphia Flyers) and Logan Morrison. Flint battled back and evened the score at 15:41. Ethan Keppen carried across the blue line on the right side, then walked across the top of the circles. He fired on goal from the top of the left circle, and Jack Wismer made enough contact with the shot to redirect it past Roy. Keppen and McCourt picked up the helpers. Hamilton outshot Flint 17 – 10 in the second and the 40-minute lead of 32 – 27.
Then, in the third period, Cody Morgan tapped in a loose puck from the side of the cage at 1:23 to put the Firebirds back in the lead. Jack Wismer took the initial shot and the rebound appeared to be buried under one of two Hamilton defenders in front, but Morgan found it and scored for his third of the season and first in a Firebirds’ sweater. Once again, the Bulldogs answered, tying the game at 5:14. Kaliyev scored his second power-play goal of the night, assisted by Kade Landry and Morrison.
Eric Uba appeared to score the game winner with just under three minutes remaining in regulation. His sharp-angle backhanded shot was close enough to light the goal lamp, but he put it off the right post, the referee waved it off and play continued. Dellandrea finished the job at 17:18, scoring his 14th of the season, assisted by Uba and Durham. Hamilton tied the game at five with 56 seconds remaining in the third. Logan Morrison scored the equalizer, with helpers from Kaliyev and Strome.
The teams went on to play three-on-three overtime for 52 seconds before Strome found the top corner of the net over Cavallin’s right shoulder. Cameron Supryka and Kaliyev assisted. Final shots were 41-38 in Hamilton’s favor. Flint was unable to score on five power-play chances, as opposed to the Bulldogs who scored twice in six opportunities. Flint won 37 face-offs compared to Hamilton’s 29.
Next Home Game:
The Firebirds are on home ice Saturday, hosting the Sarnia Sting for a 7 p.m. battle at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. The game marks the fourth-annual “Firebirds Backpack Night.” In partnership with the Foodbank of Eastern Michigan, there will be a silent auction for 12 authentic custom Firebirds’ player backpacks, which will be stitched with Flint Firebirds players’ last name, number and the Firebirds’ logo. There will be a minimum retail value of $250 worth of products or services inside each bag from local sponsors on the arena concourse. Please visit the Foodbank table on the concourse to view the auction packages and learn how to bid. The link is bidpal.net/FFH and the auction will end on 1/30/19. A donation of $100 can feed a child for an entire school year. All 50/50 proceeds on this night will benefit The School Backpack Program.
The game also continues the “Firebirds Fight Hunger” month. In partnership with the Foodbank of Eastern Michigan, fans can bring in five non-perishable food items to the Firebirds’ merchandise store, ‘The Birds Nest,’ at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center for a complimentary sponsored Silver Level ticket to any home Firebirds’ game in the month of January, courtesy of Dort Federal Credit Union, AMD Urgent Care, Captain’s Quarters Lounge, Little Caesars Pizza and Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) Flint.
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.
Photo Credit: Todd Boone / Flint Firebirds
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