Preview: Firebirds Continue Six-Game Road Trip in Hamilton Saturday Afternoon

Flint Firebirds at Hamilton Bulldogs
Date | Time Saturday, Dec. 8 | 4:00 p.m.
Location Hamilton, Ont. | FirstOntario Centre (capacity 17,383)
Tickets Ticketmaster | (905) 529-8500
TV – Cable 14 / 814 HD in Hamilton Live (Rogers & Cogeco)
– OHL Action Pak channel Rogers 446 & Cogeco 446 Live (Ontario)
Video Stream OHL Live
Radio WQUS 103.1 FM (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show: 3:30p
Radio (Mobile) US 103 App: Android | iPhone/iPad
Live Stats Here
Next Home Game Friday, December 28th: Promotions
Social Media @FlintFirebirds   | Facebook | Instagram

Hamilton, Ont. – The Firebirds will play their third of a six-game road trip Saturday afternoon when the club faces-off against the Hamilton Bulldogs. Puck drop is set for 4 p.m. (ET) at the FirstOntario Centre (capacity 17,383).

Seven Flint Firebirds have ties to Hamilton. Three Flint skaters suited up for the Bulldogs before being acquired by Flint: Fedor Gordeev, Riley McCourt and Connor Roberts. Jake Durham was a seventh-round pick in the 2015 OHL Draft by Hamilton but was signed as a free agent by the Firebirds. Jack Phibbs (Hagersville), Jack Wismer (Stoney Creek) and assistant coach Garrett Rutledge (Waterdown) all reside within 30 miles (or 52 kilometers) from the FirstOntario Centre.

Saturday marks the first of two meetings between the clubs, and the only contest in Hamilton. The two teams typically play each other close. Last season, Flint and Hamilton the series with both games being decided by a single goal and one of the two requiring overtime. Both contests in the 2016-17 season were also decided by a single goal, with one requiring a shootout. In six total meetings between the Firebirds and the Bulldogs, five were decided by a single goal and the sixth was decided by two scores.

Most recently, the Firebirds jumped out to an early lead in Erie with a power-play tally from defenseman and former Hamilton Bulldog Riley McCourt. The Otters ultimately went on to claim a 4-1 victory after a late empty-net goal sealed the outcome. Emanuel Vella made 25 saves on 28 shots between the pipes. Hamilton had Friday night off after dropping an overtime decision to the Petes in Peterborough, 4-3.

On special teams, Flint is 19th in the 20-team OHL on the power-play, scoring on 13.0% of their opportunities. Hamilton ranks third, converting at 25.9% while on the man-advantage. While shorthanded, the Firebirds are ranked 20th successfully kill penalties at 66.7% while the Bulldogs are 17th at 76.8%.


Players to Watch:

Flint Firebirds (3-26-2-0, 5th West Division):
The Firebirds have two players averaging at least a point-per-game this season, both of whom hail from Port Perry, Ontario. Assistant captain Jake Durham holds the edge in goals-scored and total points for Flint. Through 31 games played, Durham has 31 points (19G, 12A). Dallas Stars’ first-round draft pick Ty Dellandrea has recorded five goals and two assists in five games since returning from missing four games with injury. For the season, the captain has 29 points (13G, 16A) in 27 games. Eric Uba ranks third on the team, now with 12 goals and 10 assists in 31 games.

First-year forward Jacob Winterton leads all first-year players in goals-scored and points, with six tallies and 12 total points in 31 contests.

Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) leads the defensive unit with three goals and 14 assists for 17 points in 27 games-played on the season. First-year defenseman Vladislav Kolyachonok has picked up 11 points in 19 games since joining the Firebirds after the season had started.

In net, Evan Morrison is expected to get his first-career start in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Morrison made nine saves on 13 shots in one pre-season appearance with the Firebirds this year. Emanuel Vella holds a 5.28 goals-against average (GAA) and a .865 save percentage (SAV%) in 22 appearances. Luke Cavallin has compiled a 5.61 GAA and a .854 SAV% across 17 appearances. He is currently serving a five-game suspension, with Saturday marking the final game of the penalty.

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 this past off-season: 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 for the upcoming NHL Draft.

Hamilton Bulldogs (13-14-2-0, 4th East Division):
Brandon Saigeon (Colorado Avalanche) leads all players on the Bulldogs’ roster in both assists and total points. Through 29 games played on the season, he has 20 goals and 28 helpers for 48 total points. Arthur Kaliyev ranks second in total points and first in goals-scored with 21 tallies and 20 helpers through 29 contests. Matthew Strome (Philadelphia Flyers) rounds out the top three with 32 points (10G, 22A) in 29 games.

Kade Landry leads the defensive squad for Hamilton with two goals and 19 assists in 29 games. First-year winger Avery Hayes hails from Westland, Mich. and currently tops the newcomers on the team with eight points (3G, 5A) over 26 games-played.

Between the pipes, Ypsilanti, Mich. native Nick Donofrio has appeared in 15 games, picking up six victories and two overtime defeats. For the season, Donofrio has a 4.21 goals-against average (GAA) and a save-percentage (SAV%) of .867. First-year netminder Zachary Roy has also made 15 appearances, picking up seven wins. He carries a 3.19 GAA and a .899 SAV%.

NHL: The Bulldogs have four players with NHL ties on their squad, including Brandon Saigeon (Colorado Avalanche), Matthew Strome (Philadelphia Flyers), MacKenzie Entwistle (Chicago Blackhawks), and former Flint defenseman Nicolas Mattinen (Toronto Maple Leafs). Additionally, Arthur Kaliyev was listed on the November NHL Central Scouting’s North American ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft.


Broadcast Coverage:
Saturday afternoon’s contest can be heard live on the radio throughout Flint & Mid-Michigan on US 103.1 FM, online at or by downloading the US 103 app here. Dominic Hennig will call the play-by-play action with pre-game coverage beginning 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 3:30 p.m.

The game will be televised live in Hamilton on Channel 14 / 814 (HD) for both Rogers TV & Cogeco TV cable subscribers. Across the province of Ontario, the contest will be aired 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 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 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:
After Saturday, the Firebirds will play three more games on the road before returning to the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center for a pair of games during the holiday break. The first of the two back-to-back contests is the fourth and final meeting with Erie on Friday, Dec. 28. The following night, the Windsor Spitfires come to Flint for the final home game of the 2018 calendar year.

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 here.


For more information:

Dominic Hennig
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club
(810) 519-9347

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