Preview: Firebirds battle the Knights in London Friday

Robert Riehl
Flint Firebirds at London Knights 
Date | Time Friday, March 8 | 7:30 p.m.
Location London, Ont. | Budweiser Gardens (capacity 9,046)
Tickets Online | (519) 681-0800 ext. 1
TV – Rogers TV ch. 13 / 510 HD (London)
– OHL Action Pak: Rogers ch. 461 & Cogeco ch. 492 (Ontario)
– Firebirds’ Broadcast Coverage
Video Stream OHL Live
Radio WQUS 103.1 FM (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show: 7:00p
Radio (Mobile) US 103 App: Android | iPhone/iPad
Live Stats Here
Next Home Game Saturday, March 9th: Overager/Whaley Night
Social Media @FlintFirebirds   | Facebook  | Instagram 

London, Ont. – The Firebirds visit the London Knights for the final time this season Friday night. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) in front of an expected sold out Budweiser Gardens (capacity 9,046).

There are 10 players with NHL ties between both Flint and London’s current rosters Wednesday night which include the Firebirds’ Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes) and Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) and the Knight’s Adam Boqvist (Chicago Blackhawks), Evan Bouchard (Edmonton Oilers), Canton, Mich. native Paul Cotter (Vegas Golden Knights), Alex Formenton (Ottawa Senators), Liam Foudy (Columbus Blue Jackets), Joey Keane (New York Rangers), Jordan Kooy (Vegas Golden Knights) and West Bloomfield, Mich. native Alex Regula (Detroit Red Wings). Bouchard has already played in seven NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers this season and Formenton has played in nine NHL games with Ottawa Senators this season. Both were then sent down from their respective NHL clubs to London in the first two days of November 2018.

London enters the contest sitting in second place in the 20-team OHL and ranked fifth overall in the 60-team CHL. They have a record of 44-12-6-1, putting them atop the Midwest Division and the 10-team Western Conference. The Knights have won six of their past 10 games, and picked up points in seven of 10. The Firebirds have won four of their past 10, and picked up points in five games during that stretch. Flint’s record stands at 13-45-5-0.

Of note, four members of the Firebirds’ team were originally drafted by the London organization. Veteran netminder Emanuel Vella was originally selected by the Knights in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection. Then, Flint acquired three other players from London after the 2018-19 campaign began, including Ryan Bangs, Vladislav Kolyachonok and Emmet Pierce.

Friday marks the fourth and final meeting between the two clubs this season, and the second of two games in London. On Sep. 29, the Knights became the first team all-time to defeat the Firebirds in a home-opener, skating away with a 4-2 victory in front of a capacity crowd of 3,800 fans at the Dort Federal Event Center. Since then, the Firebirds have surrendered two more games to London, one home and one at the Budweiser Gardens.

On special teams, the Knights rank eighth on the power play, scoring on 23.6% of their opportunities. Flint has scored on 14.8% of their chances with the man-advantage, which is 19th in the OHL. London has the league’s best penalty kill, shutting the opposition down 86.6% of the time. The Firebirds are killing penalties at a 69.2%.


Players to Watch:

Flint Firebirds (13-45-5-0, 5th West Division):
Flint captain Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) leads all Firebirds in offensive production. After his three-point game (1G, 2A) on Wednesday, he has reached a new career-high with 60 total points (21G, 39A) in 55 contests. Jake Durham ranks second with 55 points in 63 games. Ethan Keppen has 26 goals and 28 assists for 54 total points for the third-best offensive production through 63 games-played.

Riley McCourt leads the blue-liners with six goals and now has 31 points in 45 games. Vladislav Kolyachonok leads the first-year players for the Firebirds 27 total points (4G, 23A) through 49 games-played.

In net, Emanuel Vella holds a 4.84 goals-against average (GAA) and a .875 save percentage (SAV%). He has six wins in 39 appearances. Luke Cavallin has a 5.43 GAA and a .859 SAV% across 34 appearances. Cavallin also has six victories between the pipes.

NHL: The Firebirds have two players with NHL ties consisting of Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes) and Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars). In addition, Luke Cavallin, Kyle Harris, Ethan Keppen, Vladislav Kolyachonok, Eric Uba, Cody Morgan, Emmet Pierce and Jacob Winterton are eight first-time eligible skaters for the upcoming NHL Draft in June. Cavallin, Keppen, Kolyachonok and Uba were among the 50 OHL Players in NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft.

Despite Flint playing in just their fourth season in the OHL, Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes) and Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) are two former Firebirds to play in the NHL. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars), Vili Saarijarvi (Detroit Red Wings) and Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) have played in NHL pre-season contests.

London Knights (44-12-6-1, 1st Midwest Division):
Kevin Hancock ranks in the top five in the OHL in numerous categories. His 101 points are third-most in the league, his 50 goals-scored have him tied for third in that category. He’s third in power-play scoring with 17 tallies on the man-advantage. Hancock is also alone in first place with nine insurance goals in the campaign. Connor McMichael ranks second with 36 goals and 70 total points in 64 games. Columbus Blue Jackets’ prospect Liam Foudy has played in 57 games and picked up 66 points (35G, 31A).

Adam Boqvist, the Chicago Blackhawks’ first-round selection (8th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft, leads all blue-liners on the team with 19 goals and 37 assists in 50 games. Plymouth, Mich. native Antonio Stranges leads all first-year players on the London roster with 34 points (13G, 21A) through 61 games.

Between the pipes, netminder Joseph Raaymakers remains among the OHL’s best. With a goals-against average (GAA) at 2.90 and a save-percentage (SAV%) at .906, he remains in the top 10 in both categories. Raaymakers became just the sixth OHL goaltender to record 100 career wins earlier this season. He has been credited with 30 wins, including two shutouts. Jordan Kooy (Vegas Golden Knights) has a GAA of 2.86 and a SAV% of .908. He has earned 14 wins in 23 appearances.

NHL: The Knights have eight players with NHL ties on their current roster consisting of Adam Boqvist (Chicago Blackhawks), Evan Bouchard (Edmonton Oilers), Canton, Mich. native Paul Cotter (Vegas Golden Knights), Alex Formenton (Ottawa Senators), Liam Foudy (Columbus Blue Jackets), Joey Keane (New York Rangers), Jordan Kooy (Vegas Golden Knights) and West Bloomfield, Mich. native Alec Regula (Detroit Red Wings). The Knights also have four players named to the 2019 NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings, including Connor McMichael, Matvey Guskov, Mason Millman and Nathan Dunkley.

29 notable London Knights alumni to play in the NHL are David Bolland, John Carlson, Dino Ciccarelli, Michael Del Zotto, Max Domi, Sam Gagner, Bo Horvat, Michael Hutchinson, Nazem Kadri, Patrick Kane, Chris Kelly, Sergi Kostitsyn, Oli Maatta, Mitch Marner, Patrick Maroon, Steve Mason, Marc Methot, Vladislav Namestnikov, Rick Nash, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Shanahan, Steve Smith, John Tavares, Chris Tierney, Jarred Tinordi, Matthew Tkachuk, Austin Watson, Dennis Wideman and Nikita Zadorov.


Broadcast Coverage:
Friday evening’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 on the Flint Firebirds Hockey Radio Network. Pregame coverage will begin 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 7 p.m.

Friday’s game will also be televised live in London on channel 13 / 510 (HD) for Rogers TV cable subscribers. Additionally, the game will be televised live throughout the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 461 for Rogers TV cable subscribers and channel 492 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 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 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 this Saturday to host the Windsor Spitfires at the Dort Federal Event Center at 7 p.m. (ET).

Saturday is Overager NightWhaley Night and Scout Night! The Firebirds’ two “Overagers,” Hakon Nilsen and Emanuel Vella will be honored prior to the game. In the OHL, an overager is a player that begins the season at 20 years of age. A team is only allowed to have three overage players on their roster after the trade deadline in January, which is their final allowed season in the OHL. Also, all scouts in attendance receive the Firebirds’ official ‘scout patch.’

In addition, the Firebirds are teaming up with the Whaley Children’s Center (WCC) for a donation drive where fans can bring in five or more personal hygiene items to receive a complimentary Silver Level ticket, presented by Genesee Packaging, Inc. and Landaal Packaging and sponsored by Corrigan Moving SystemsBig John Steak & Onion, and Oasis Outsourcing. Proceeds from the Firebirds’ gameday 50-50 raffle will be donated to WCC.

The Whaley Children’s Center is a private agency that focuses on caring for children and families in crisis and has a great need for a variety of personal hygiene products including antibiotic cream, band-aids, Chapstick, children’s chewable Motrin/Tylenol/Pepto-Bismol, disposable cleaning wipes, ethnic hair care products, feminine hygiene products, first aid kits, hair brushes, heat packs, laundry soap & scent boosters, liquid body wash, lotion (hypoallergenic), Nair, paper towel, overnight pads, toilet paper, undergarments, twin XL bedding, etc.

Early bird ticket packages for the Flint Firebirds’ 2019-20 OHL season are on sale now. A $50 deposit reserves your seat for next season! The special early bird price deadline is Tuesday, April 30th and fans can secure their seats for next season at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday. For additional pricing and ticket information, fans can call the box office at (810) 744-0580 or email

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.

Photo Credit: Robert Riehl / London Knights


For more information:

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

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