Preview: Firebirds Wrap-Up Regular Season at Home vs. London Saturday
|Game 68/68: Flint Firebirds (32-27-3-5) vs. London Knights (45-14-3-4)|
|Date | Time||Saturday, March 18 | 7:00 p.m.|
|Location||Flint, Mich. | Dort Federal Event Center (Directions)|
|Tickets||Ticketmaster.com | (810) 744-0580|
|Promotions||– Billet & Fan Appreciation Night
– Whaley Children’s Center Drive
|TV||– Rogers TV ch. 13 / 510 HD (London)
– OHL Action Pak: Rogers ch. 458 & Cogeco ch. 489 (Ontario)
|Video Stream||OHL Live|
|Radio||WTRX 1330-AM (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show: 6:30p|
|Radio (Mobile)||Sports Xtra 1330 App: Android | iPhone/iPad|
|Media Notes Packet||Here|
|Social Media||@FlintFirebirds | Facebook | Instagram|
Flint, Mich. – The Flint Firebirds will wrap-up their 68-game regular season when they travel back to Flint for the second half of a home-and-home series against the London Knights. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. at the newly renovated Dort Federal Event Center on Saturday for both “Billet & Fan Appreciation Night.”
Saturday’s match-up between Flint and London features three players among the Top-10 scorers in the OHL and 15 players either drafted and/or already signed in the NHL, including two first-round selections and three second-round picks.
Flint has earned at least one point in 10 of their last 13 games, likewise the Firebirds have scored one power-play goal in 11 of their last 13 games. The Firebirds are 19-10-2-2 on home-ice this season and have earned points in three of their past four contests in Flint. The Firebirds are also 3-4-2-1 in their past 10 games. The Knights are 20-9-2-1 on road this season and are 4-1-0-0 in the past five games away from the Budweiser Gardens.
London holds a 3-0 lead in the season series after winning the first contest, 6-2 on Dec. 4 in London, 4-3 in a shootout on Feb. 8 in Flint and 7-3 last night in London (Watch Highlights).
On special teams, Flint holds the 10th-best penalty kill in the OHL, operating at 79.7%, while London owns the seventh-ranked penalty kill in the OHL at 81.3%. The Firebirds have lit-the-lamp 15 times in their last 17 games with the man-advantage, while London has the third-best power-play in the OHL, clicking at 26.2%.
With one game remaining in the season, Flint sits in seventh-place in the Western Conference with 72 points, and will face the second-ranked Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the first-round of the OHL playoffs. London is fourth in the Western Conference and has 97 points in 66 games thus far.
Saturday evening’s contest against the Knights is ‘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, online by clicking ticketmaster.com, or by contacting Kevin Mays at (810) 744-0580 ext. 210 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (32-27-3-5, 7th Western Conference):
Nick Caamano (Dallas Stars), Ryan Moore, Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) are four Flint Firebirds to watch Saturday 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 29 contests.
Kole Sherwood has recorded 17 points (4G, 12A) in his last 10 games and is ninth in the OHL with 84 points (33G, 51A) in 59 games this season. Sherwood also recorded a 14-game point-streak from Dec. 30, 2016 to Feb. 12, 2017.
Nicholas Caamano (Dallas Stars) has 31 points (20G, 11A) in the last 29 contests and has 16 goals in his past 21 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 14 contests and has 17 goals and 22 assists in 64 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. Everett Clark tallied three points in his last game against the London Knights on Friday and has 16 goals and 23 assists in 64 games this season. Fedor Gordeev recorded two points in his last game and has 14 points in 63 games this journey. Alex Peters buried his 10th goal of the season last night and has 35 points in 67 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 18-12-1-3 and is statistically the 10th-best goaltender in the OHL with a 3.21 GAA and a .885 SAV%. Hicks made 33 saves on 40 shots in the Firebirds’ 7-3 loss against London on Friday. 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%.
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 (45-14-3-4, 4th Western Conference):
London’s Max Jones (Anaheim Ducks) and Olli Juolevi (Vancouver Canucks) were both first-round draft picks in the most recent NHL Draft in June 2016 while Janne Kuokkanen (Carolina Hurricanes), Tyler Parsons (Calgary Flames) and Mitchell Stephens (Tampa Bay Lightning) were each second-round draft picks in the NHL. Cliff Pu (Buffalo Sabers) is ninth among all OHL skaters and leads London in scoring with 83 points (35G, 48A). Pu recorded an assist last night against. Second on the Knights’ roster is JJ Piccinich (Toronto Maple Leafs) with 24 goals and 44 assists in 64 games this season.
Between-the-pipes, Tyler Parsons (Calgary Flames) is 22-6-2-3 and statistically the third-best goaltender in the OHL with a 2.38 GAA and a .924 SAV%. Parsons made 37 saves on 40 shots in the Knights’ 7-3 victory over the Flint Firebirds on Friday. 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.
Saturday 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 6:30 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 458 for Rogers TV subscribers and 489 for Cogeco TV cable subscribers. Fans can also watch the game live online at www.ohllive.com or on the OHL Live App.
Upcoming Playoff Home Games:
The Flint Firebirds will play the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the first-round of the 2017 OHL Playoffs. The best-of-seven series begins Thursday, March 23rd in Sault Ste Marie, Ont. The Firebirds will host game three on Monday, Mar. 27 and game four on Wednesday, Mar. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Dort Federal Event Center. If necessary, game six will be played on Sunday Apr. 2 at 4 p.m. (See Firebirds’ 2017 OHL Playoff Schedule Here)
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.
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