Flint, Mich. – The Flint Firebirds host the Kitchener Rangers Saturday evening on ‘First Responders Night.’ Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (ET) at the Dort Federal Event Center.
Saturday marks the second of four meetings between the two clubs and the first of two at the Dort Federal Event Center this season. All-time, the Firebirds are 4-7-2-0 against the Rangers and are 1-4-1-0 against Kitchener on home ice. Last season, Flint went 1-2-1-0 in the season series, with all four contests being decided by two or fewer goals. On opening night in Kitchener this season, the Rangers got the upper hand on home ice, defeating the ‘Birds 6-2.
Both teams were active last night, with neither posting a victory. Flint was defeated 5-3 by the visiting North Bay Battalion. Ty Dellandrea, Hunter Holmes and Eric Uba scored the Firebirds.With the exception of the Opening Night game in Kitchener on Sep. 22, last night was the first time this season the Firebirds did not give up more than shots, and also the first time this season that Flint recorded more than 30 shots in a game. Kitchener fell by a score of 4-1 on the road against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Rickard Hugg scored the lone goal for the Rangers, his sixth.
The Firebirds will continue to play without three defensemen: Dennis Busby (Lower Body Injury), Vladislav Kolyachonok (Immigration) and Riley McCourt (Upper Body Injury).
On special teams, the Rangers’ power play ranks fourth-best in the OHL with a 26.7% success rate. On the road, however, they have converted 14.3% of their chances with the man-advantage, the league’s 11th best. Flint has yet to capitalize on the power-play this season. On home ice, the Firebirds are the 20th ranked team shorthanded, killing 70% of their penalties successfully. Kitchener is perfect killing penalties on the road, going six-for-six after three away games.
The Firebirds welcome the Kitchener Rangers to Flint on Saturday for the annual “First Responders Night” sponsored by Dort Federal Credit Union. Join us in thanking all first responders for their dedication to our community. First responders with valid identification will receive $5 off of a $16 Silver Level ticket. Admission to the Firebirds’ game earns fans a ticket to the ‘Battle of the Badges’ game between the Police & Firefighters that takes place beginning at 4 p.m. with doors set to open at 3:30 p.m.
Pre-game festivities include the annual “Save-a-Life” Expo from 5-6:45 p.m. at the Dort Federal Event Center’s second arena. The event is FREE to the public. Fire trucks, police cars and emergency medical service (EMS) ambulance vehicles will be available for the public to observe and experience. Fans will be able to enter and explore the vehicles and display trailers. Hands on demonstration, giveaway items and training from various participating fire responder branches will take place throughout the event.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (0-8-0-0, 5th West Division):
Captain Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) leads his troops with five points on the season. He has two goals and three assists, and rides a three-game point streak (2G, 2A) into Saturday’s matchup. There is a three-way tie for second in points between assistant captain Jake Durham (1G, 3A), second-year forward Ethan Keppen (3G, 1A), and newcomer Jacob Winterton (3G, 1A).
Eric Uba scored his first-career OHL goal Wednesday night in Sault Ste. Marie, and followed it up with another tally on home ice last night. The Kitchener, Ont. native has a two-game scoring streak and three points (2G, 1A) in eight games this season.
Emanuel Vella started in net Friday night, making 20 saves on 25 shots. For the season, he carries a 5.56 goals-against average (GAA) and a .842 save percentage (SAV%) over seven appearances. Second-year goaltender Luke Cavallin has appeared in four games and has a 5.46 GAA and a SAV% of .848.
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 and forward Ethan Keppen were named to NHL Central Scouting’s North American ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft, released Oct 1.
Kitchener Rangers (4-1-2-0, 2nd Midwest Division):
Joseph Garreffa has emerged as the early points-leader for the Rangers, racking up eleven points in seven games, including a team-leading seven assists. The fourth-year forward also leads Kitchener in power-play points, with four (1G, 3A) on the season. Rickard Hugg ranks second on the team in points, with a team-best six goals and three assists in seven games. The Swedish defender finished his rookie campaign with 32 points a year ago. Jonathan Yantsis is third after seven games with seven points.
Between the pipes, netminder Luke Richardson has made six appearances and earned four wins. He carries the league’s fourth-lowest goals-against average (GAA) at 2.32 and a save percentage (SAV%) of .926. A season ago, Richardson made 39 starts and earned 23 wins. He played last night against the Soo Greyhounds, making 26 saves on 29 shots in the defeat. First-year goalie Lucas Pfeil has made one appearance, putting up a 2.96 GAA and a .919 SAV%.
NHL: The Rangers have two players with NHL ties, consisting of Riley Damiani (Dallas Stars) and Alexey Lipanov (Tampa Bay Lightning). Additionally, rearguard Michael Vukojevic was named to NHL Central Scouting’s North American ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft, released Oct 1.
21 notable Kitchener Rangers’ alumni to play in the NHL are Brian Bellows, Andre Benoit, Shawn Burr, David Clarkson, Paul Coffey, Boyd Devereaux, Steve Downie, John Gibson, Dale Hunter, Nazem Kadri, Jakub Kindl, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Lashoff, Al MacInnis, Don Maloney, Wayne Presley, Mike Richards, Larry Robinson, Derek Roy, Jeff Skinner and Scott Stevens.
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.
For more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club