Preview: Firebirds & Knights Battle in London Friday
|Game 67: Flint Firebirds (32-26-3-5) vs. London Knights (44-14-3-4)|
|Date | Time||Friday, Mar. 17 | 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)
|Video Stream||OHL Live|
|Radio||WTRX 1330-AM (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show: 7:00p|
|Radio (Mobile)||Sports Xtra 1330 App: Android | iPhone/iPad|
|Next Home Game||Saturday, Mar. 18 vs. London (Tickets)|
|Social Media||@FlintFirebirds | Facebook | Instagram|
London, Ont. – The Flint Firebirds will close out their 68-game regular season with a home-and-home series against the London Knights this weekend. Flint will travel to London for a Friday night tilt in front of a sold-out Budweiser Gardens (capacity 9,036) before wrapping up the regular season at home vs. London on Saturday. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. for the third of four meeting’s on the season between the two clubs this Friday, Mar. 17.
Flint has earned at least one point in 10 of their last 12 games, likewise the Firebirds have scored one power-play goal in 11 of their last 12 games. The Firebirds are 13-17-0-3 on the road this season but have earned points in four of their past five contests away from Flint. The Firebirds are also 4-3-2-1 in their past 10 games. London won their previous game, 3-2, against the Erie Otters on Tuesday. The Knights are 24-5-1-3 on home-ice this season and are 3-2-0-0 in the past five games at the Budweiser Gardens.
On special teams, Flint holds the ninth-best penalty kill in the OHL, operating at 79.9%, while London owns the seventh-ranked penalty kill in the OHL at 81.1%. The Firebirds have lit-the-lamp 15 times in their last 16 games with the man-advantage, while London has the third-best power-play in the OHL, clicking at 26.0%.
The Knights hold a 2-0 lead in the season series after winning the first contest, 6-2 on Dec. 4 and the most recent contest, 4-3 in a shootout on Feb. 8.
With two games remaining in the season, Flint sits in seventh-place in the Western Conference with 72 points, four points behind the Rangers in the sixth spot. London is fourth in the Western Conference and has 95 points in 65 games thus far. (See OHL Standings Here)
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (32-26-3-5, 7th Western Conference):
Nick Caamano (Dallas Stars), Maurizio Colella, Ryan Moore and Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) are four Flint Firebirds to watch Friday night.
Ryan Moore is seventh in OHL scoring and leads the Firebirds with 89 points (39G, 50A). Moore has 14 points in the last nine games and has racked up 20 goals in the last 28 contests.
Kole Sherwood has recorded 15 points (4G, 11A) in his last nine games and is 10th in the OHL with 82 points (33G, 49A) in 58 games this season. Sherwood also recorded a 14-game point-streak from Dec. 30, 2016 to Feb. 12, 2017 and is 11th among all OHL Skaters with 81 points in 57 games this season.
Nicholas Caamano (Dallas Stars) recorded two points in his last game against the Attack on Tuesday, has 31 points (20G, 11A) in the last 28 contests and has 16 goals in his past 20 games. Caamano is third on the Firebirds’ roster with 35 goals and 29 assists in 65 games played.
Additionally, Maurizio Colella has tallied 13 points (6G, 7A) in his past 13 contests and has 17 goals and 22 assists in 63 games. Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) is currently riding a three-game point streak where he has tallied five points (1G, 4A). Smereck has eight goals and 36 assists in 59 games thus far. C.J Clarke notched his ninth goal of the season against the Attack and has 24 points in 54 games this journey. Jake Durham got his 10th tally of the season last game and has 16 points in 64 games this season. Hakon Nilsen scored in his last game and has three goals and five assists in 41 games.
C.J. Clarke, Samuel Duchesne, Jake Durham, Fedor Gordeev and Jack Phibbs are five first-time eligible players to be selected in the NHL Draft in June 2017.
In net, Connor Hicks is 18-11-1-3 and is statistically the ninth-best goaltender in the OHL with a 3.10 GAA and a .888 SAV%. Garrett Forrest is 13-14-2-2 and is statistically the 16th-best goaltender in the OHL with a 3.51 GAA along with a .889 SAV%. Forrest made 26 saves on 32 shots in the Firebirds’ 6-4 loss against Owen Sounds on Tuesday.
NHL: The Firebirds currently have two players that have signed contracts with NHL clubs. Forward Kole Sherwood signed a three-year NHL contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets (July 2015) and defenseman Jalen Smereck signed a three-year NHL contract with the Arizona Coyotes (October 2016). Flint’s Nicholas Caamano was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the most recent NHL Draft in June 2016. Along with Caamano, Sherwood and Smereck, four more Flint Firebirds competed in NHL training camps this fall: Everett Clark (St. Louis Blues), Connor Hicks (Detroit Red Wings), Luke Kirwan (Detroit Red Wings) and Alex Peters (Carolina Hurricanes).
London Knights (44-14-3-4, 4th Western Conference):
Cliff Pu (Buffalo Sabers) is ninth among all OHL skaters and leads London in scoring with 82 points (35G, 47A). Second on the Knights’ roster is JJ Piccinich (Toronto Maple Leafs) with 24 goals and 44 assists in 63 games this season. Robert Thomas extended his point streak to four games after he recorded an assist against the Otters on Tuesday and has 16 goals and 48 assists in 63 games thus far.
Between-the-pipes, Tyler Parsons (Calgary Flames) is 21-6-2-3 and statistically the third-best goaltender in the OHL with a 2.36 GAA and a .924 SAV%. Parsons made 41 saves on 43 shots in the Knights’ 3-2 victory over the Erie Otters on Tuesday. Tyler Johnson is 12-5-0-0 with a .903 SAV% along with a 3.11 GAA.
Three Knights are rated among the top North American Skaters for the upcoming NHL Draft which takes place June 23-24 in Chicago: Alex Formenton (#24), Robert Thomas (#28), Jacob Golden (#143).
NHL: 11 players on the Knights’ roster have been drafted by NHL teams consisting of Max Jones (Anaheim Ducks), Olli Juolevi (Vancouver Canucks), Janne Kuokkanen (Carolina Hurricanes), Victor Mete (Montreal Canadiens), JJ Piccinich (Toronto Maple Leafs), Cliff Pu (Buffalo Sabres), Mitchell Stephens (Tampa Bay Lightning), Mitchell Vande Sompel (New York Islanders) and Tyler Parsons (Calgary Flames).
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, Sergei 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.
Friday evening’s contest against the Knights can be heard live on 1330 AM WTRX Sports Radio in Flint & Mid-Michigan and around the world online on the Sports Xtra 1330 Radio app here. Pregame coverage with Dominic Hennig will begin 35 minutes prior to puck drop at 7 p.m. Additionally, the game will be televised live in London on channel 13 / 510 (HD) for Rogers TV cable subscribers and throughout the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 461 for Rogers TV subscribers and 492 for Cogeco TV cable subscribers. Fans can also watch the game live online at www.ohllive.com or on the OHL Live App.
Next Home Game:
The Firebirds return home for the final time of the 68-game regular season this Saturday, March 18th against the London Knights. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. for ‘Billet & Fan Appreciation Night,’ featuring prizes at the doors for fans, like thunderstix, pom pom’s, rally towels, ‘Big Heads’, numerous t-shirt toss’s throughout the game and one lucky fan will shoot to win $10,000 in the second intermission. In addition, the Firebirds are teaming up with the Whaley Children’s Center for a donation drive where fans can bring in three personal care items to receive a sponsored ticket to the game, limit four tickets per person, while supplies last. Items needed are tooth brushes, tooth paste, deodorant, feminine products and body wash, with the limited tickets being sponsored by Oasis Payroll Services.
Tickets are $12 for Bronze, $15 for Silver, $19 for Gold and $25 for VIP seating. All seats are reserved / assigned seating. Parking has been reduced to $5 dollars, which is new this season. Fans can purchase tickets at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office or online by clicking ticketmaster.com.
Playoffs and Season Ticket Information:
Flint Firebirds 2017 ‘Three-Game Playoff Packages’ and individual game tickets are on sale now! Come #CatchTheFire as the Flint Firebirds make their first run in the OHL Playoffs. The Firebirds’ first two home dates will be during the week of March 27th & will likely be weekday games. Additionally, Flint Firebirds home playoff games will feature $2 beers and $2 hot dogs for all fans in attendance. Season ticket holders that purchase a three-game playoff package will receive free parking and a complimentary limited edition playoff t-shirt. Three game playoff packages start as low as $42.
Early bird season tickets for the 2017-18 season may be reserved with a $50 deposit per seat by March 30th. New to season ticket holders next year is free parking, four road games in Saginaw at the Dow Event Center, complimentary tickets to the Firebirds’ pre-season games and the fourth-annual Detroit Red Wings / Flint Generals Alumni game, an exclusive season ticket holder entrance and much more. For more information, visit the Flint Firebirds Season Tickets Page here or contact Kevin Mays at (810) 744-0580 ext. 210 or email@example.com.
Photo Credit: Aaron Bell / OHL Images
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