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Preview: Dellandrea, Durham, Keppen, Firebirds invade Oshawa Sunday

Ian Goodall
Flint Firebirds at Oshawa Generals
Date | Time Sunday, Jan. 20 | 6:05 p.m.
Location Oshawa, Ont. | Tribute Communities Centre (capacity 6,125)
Tickets Online | (877) 436-8811
TV – Rogers TV channel 10 / 510 HD Live (Oshawa)
– OHL Action Pak: Rogers TV 436 & Cogeco TV 477 Live (Ontario)
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 Wednesday, Jan. 30: (Promotions)
Social Media @FlintFirebirds   | Facebook | Instagram

Oshawa, Ontario – The Firebirds will play their third away game in as many nights against the Oshawa Generals Sunday. Puck drop is set for 6:05 p.m. (ET) at the Tribute Communities Centre (capacity 6,125).

Jake Durham (Port Perry), Ty Dellandrea (Port Perry) and Ethan Keppen (Whitby) are three Firebirds that hail from the Oshawa region and all three enter Sunday’s contest as the three leaders in points for the Firebirds. Flint’s Head Coach Eric Wellwood spent two seasons (2014-16) as an assistant coach with the Generals and was a part of the Memorial Cup Championship team in 2015.

Sunday marks the first of two meetings this season, and the only contest to be played in Oshawa. All-time, Flint is 2-4-0-0 in the series with the Generals and are 1-2-0-0 at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa. However, the Firebirds have been heating up over the past couple weeks, notching victories over Sarnia, Sudbury and the Soo Greyhounds. They’ve now earned three wins and points in four of their last 7 games.

Most recently, the Firebirds began their five-game road trip Friday night in Mississauga. Saturday night the ‘Birds faced the IceDogs in Niagara. Although they didn’t gain points from either, they showed that they can compete with some of the leagues best. In St. Catherine’s last night, Flint was leading after the first period. They only trailed by a single goal with 12 minutes remaining in regulation. Ethan Keppen extended his point streak to eight games (5G, 4A) and Luke Cavallin made 42 saves en-route to an eventual 7 – 2 defeat. For the second consecutive night, the Firebirds were playing while their next opponent had the night off. Oshawa had was idle Saturday after defeating the Frontenacs in Kingston 6 – 1 Friday.

On special teams, Oshawa has the OHL’s fourth-best power-play, converting on 26.1% of their opportunities. Flint is 19th operating at 14.7%. On the penalty-kill, the Generals are 18th in the OHL at 73.8% while Flint is 19th at 69.1%.

 

Players to Watch:

Flint Firebirds (8-35-3-0, 5th West Division):
The ‘Port Perry connection’ of Ty Dellandrea and Jake Durham continues to lead the way for the Firebirds. Durham has the most goals (30) and the most points (48) through 46 games. He also leads the ‘Birds with nine short-handed tallies. Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) has 47 points (16G, 31A) in 40 games-played. He has 14 points in his last six games (3G, 11A). His 31 assists are one shy of his career-high set a season ago. Whitby native Ethan Keppen enters Sunday night’s contest on an eight-game point streak (5G, 4A). Keppen is third on the Firebirds’ roster with 34 points (15G, 19A) in 46 games this season.

Vladislav Kolyachonok leads the Firebirds’ first year players and defenseman with 24 points (3G, 21A) in 34 appearances. He has nine points in the past seven games (3G, 6A), and his points-per-game average is inside the top 20 among defensemen in the OHL this season. Kolyachonok will play for Team Orr in the upcoming 2019 Sherwin Williams CHL / NHL Top Prospects Game. Riley McCourt tops Flint’s defensive troops in goals-scored with five, and now has 19 points in 28 games. Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes) has three points in five games since making his first appearance of the season last week.

In net, Luke Cavallin has compiled a 5.30 GAA and a .860 SAV% across 24 appearances. Emanuel Vella holds a 5.06 goals-against average (GAA) and a .870 save percentage (SAV%) in 28 appearances.

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. 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.

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) and Vili Saarijarvi (Detroit Red Wings) have played in NHL pre-season contests.

Oshawa Generals (27-15-2-0, 2nd East Division):
Brandon Saigeon (Colorado Avalanche) leads the Generals in scoring. He’s picked up four points (3G, 1A) in four games with Oshawa since being acquired in a trade with Hamilton. For the season, Saigeon has 28 goals and 39 assists for 67 points in 44 games-played. His 12 power-play goals have him tied for fourth in the OHL, and he’s tied for the third most assists with the man-advantage at 20. Serron Noel (Florida Panthers) ranks second for Oshawa with 57 points (24G, 33A) in 44 contests. Anthony Salinitri (Philadelphia Flyers) paces the league with seven shorthanded tallies, and ranks second for scoring the first goal of the game seven times this season. For the campaign, he has 31 goals and 24 assists through 44 games.

Former Firebirds’ defenseman Nicolas Mattinen leads the defensive unit with 33 points (13G, 20A) in 44 games-played. Of the first-year players on the team, Tyler Tullio sets the pace with eight goals and nine helpers in 36 contests.

Between the pipes, former Firebirds’ netminder Kyle Keyser (Boston Bruins) leads the OHL in goals-against average (GAA) and save percentage (SAV%). He has 20 wins in 28 appearances, posting a 2.39 GAA with a SAV% of .928. Aidan Hughes has appeared in 25 games this season, posting a 4.14 GAA and a .868 SAV% along with 10 victories.

NHL: Oshawa has eight players with NHL ties on its current roster, including Nico Gross (New York Rangers), Kyle Keyser (Boston Bruins), Nicolas Mattinen (Toronto Maple Leafs), Allan McShane (Montreal Canadians), Serron Noel (Florida Panthers), Brandon Saigeon (Colorado Avalanche), Anthony Salinitri (Philadelphia Flyers) and Giovanni Vallati (Winnipeg Jets).

184 of Oshawa’s alumni have played in the NHL, including Bobby Orr, Ted Lindsay, Eric Lindros, John Tavares, Gord Murphy, Michael Del Zotto, Wayne Primeau, Cal Clutterbuck, Jason Arnott, Dan Hinote, Danny O’Shea, Boone Jenner, Alex Delvecchio and Claude Julien.

 

Broadcast Coverage:
Sunday evening’s contest in Oshawa 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 on the Flint Firebirds Hockey Radio Network. Pregame coverage will begin 35 minutes prior to puck drop at 5:30 p.m.

The game will also be televised live in Oshawa on channel 10 / 510 (HD) for Rogers TV cable subscribers. In addition, the game will be televised live province-wide across Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 436 for Rogers TV cable subscribers and channel 477 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 Sunday’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.

 

Next Home Game:
Flint will compete in three more road games before returning home to the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center on Wednesday, Jan 30. The London Knights will be in town for their final appearance of the season. The game marks another ‘Winning Wednesday’. The Firebirds are offering amazing deals for all Wednesday home games, featuring $2 Beers, $2 Hot Dogs and $2 Pop Corn. Also, every time the Firebirds win at home on a Wednesday, each fan in attendance will receive a free ticket to the next Wednesday home game.

The game on Jan 30 will also conclude the “Firebirds Fight Hunger” month. In partnership with the Foodbank of Eastern Michigan, fans can bring in five non-perishable food items to the Firebirds’ merchandise store, ‘The Birds Nest,’ at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center for a complimentary sponsored Silver Level ticket to any home Firebirds’ game in the month of January, courtesy of Dort Federal Credit Union, AMD Urgent Care, Captain’s Quarters Lounge, Little Caesars Pizza and Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) Flint.

Additionally, there are 12 custom Firebirds’ backpacks, stitched with players’ last name, number and Firebirds’ logo up for bid on an online auction until Jan. 30. All have a minimum retail value of $250 worth of products or services inside each bag! Fans can bid now here: http://bidpal.net/FFH

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 ticketmaster.com here.

Photo Credit: Ian Goodall / Oshawa Generals

 

For more information:

Dominic Hennig
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club
dominic@flintfirebirds.com
(810) 519-9347

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