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Preview: Firebirds and Spirit Battle in Saginaw Friday
Danen Williams / Firebirds
 Flint Firebirds (7-14-2-0) at Saginaw Spirit (10-9-3-0)
Date | Time Friday, Nov. 24 | 7:05 p.m.
Location Saginaw, Mich. | Dow Event Center (capacity 5,527)
Tickets Ticketmaster.com | (989) 497-7747
TV – OHL Action Pak: Rogers TV ch. 466 & Cogeco TV ch. 466 Live (Ontario)
– CW WBSF: Charter ch. 17 / 717 (HD) & Comcast ch. 15 / 236 (HD) Sunday at 3 p.m. (Mid-Michigan)
Video Stream OHL Live
Radio WQUS 103.1 FM (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show: 6:30p
Radio (Mobile) US 103 App: Android | iPhone/iPad
Live Stats Here
Media Info Roster, Pronunciation & All-Time Stats
Next Home Game Sunday, Nov. 26: Family Day/4-Pack
Social Media @FlintFirebirds   | Facebook  | Instagram 

By: Dominic Hennig

Saginaw, Mich. – The Flint Firebirds wrap-up a home-and-home series with in-state rival Saginaw Spirit this Friday, Nov. 24. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. at the Dow Event Center (capacity 5,527). All games between Flint and Saginaw are presented by Coors Light.

Friday is the third-of-eight games scheduled between the Firebirds and Spirit this season and second-of-four in Saginaw. The Firebirds hold a 10-6-0-2 all-time record against Saginaw. Flint has faired best on home-ice, posting a 6-1-0-2 record and are 4-5-0-0 in Saginaw. The Firebirds have successfully secured the Coors Light I-75 Divide Cup for the two seasons of its existence after notching identical 5-2-0-1 records in the past two years.

The Spirit won the first game played this season, 5-3, on Nov. 1 in Saginaw. Flint’s Maurizio Colella registered 3 points (1G, 2A) and Jake Durham notched a goal and an assist. The Spirit increased their lead in the series with a 4-1 victory on Wednesday night. Nick Caamano scored the lone-goal for Flint, assisted by Jake Durham. Saginaw’s Blade Jenkins had three points (2G, 1A) and Damien Giroux notched two points (1G, 1A).

On special teams, the Firebirds rank ahead of the Spirit on the power-play, operating at 16.2% while Saginaw scores 13.2% of the time. However, on the penalty-kill, Saginaw successfully gets away 74.7% compared to Flint at 70.4%. On Wednesday against Saginaw, Flint was a perfect 3-for-3 on the PK and struck once on five power-play opportunities.

 

Players to Watch:

Flint Firebirds (7-14-2-0, 5th West Division):
Nick Caamano (Dallas Stars) and Ryan Moore are tied for the lead in points on the Firebirds’ roster. After scoring the Firebirds’ lone-goal against Saginaw on Wednesday, Caamano now has 21 points (12G, 9A) in 23 games played.  Troy, Mich. native Ryan Moore has scored eight times and recorded 13 assists in 21 games this season. Moore has four goals in his previous five contests. Jake Durham is currently on a three-game point-streak with three assists in that time. Durham is tied for fourth on the Firebirds’ roster with 15 points (3G, 12A) in 23 games.

On Wednesday, the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes assigned defenseman Jalen Smereck to the Flint Firebirds. Wearing number five, Smereck was fifth on the Firebirds’ roster in points last season with 45 (9G, 36A) in 60 games. Smereck signed a three-year NHL entry-level contract with Arizona in October of 2016.

Between-the-pipes, Garrett Forrest has played in 19 of the Firebirds’ 23 games this season. Forrest has a 4.63 goals against average (GAA) and a .868 save percentage (SAV%). Forrest has earned all seven of Flint’s wins this season. Rookie goaltender Luke Cavallin was in net Wednesday and has a 4.90 GAA and a .863 SAV%. Cavallin was the highest selected netminder in the 2017 OHL Draft in April.

NHL: The Firebirds have four players that have NHL ties consisting of Nick Caamano (Dallas Stars), Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs), Nicholas Mattinen (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes). Additionally, Dennis Busby, Ty Dellandrea, Hunter Holmes, Ryan Littlejohn and Jack Wismer are six first time eligible players to be selected in the NHL Entry Draft in June 2018. Busby, Dellandrea, Wismer, and Holmes were listed among NHL Central Scouting’s November ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming 2018 NHL Draft.

Saginaw Spirit (10-9-3-0, 4th West Division):
The Spirit are led up front by forward Cole Coskey who has 22 points (11G, 11A) in 22 games this season. Coskey’s four-game point-streak was snapped in Flint Wednesday. He has recorded at least one point in six of his last eight games. Tied for second on the Spirit roster are Damien Giroux and Marcus Crawford. Crawford has 20 points (6G, 13A) in 22 games and is on a four-game point-streak, posting five points in that time. Giroux had a goal and an assist Wednesday and now has 20 points (6G, 14A) in 22 games. Blade Jenkins notched two goals and an assist Wednesday and is fourth on the Spirit roster with 16 points (10G, 6A) in 22 games.

In net, Saginaw’s Evan Cormier (New Jersey Devils) is the eighth-best goaltender statistically in the OHL with a 2.93 GAA and a .905 SAV%. Cormier made 27 saves on 28 Flint shots Wednesday. Cameron Lamour is the Spirit’s backup netminder with a 6.95 GAA and a .813 SAV%.

NHL: Three players on Saginaw’s roster have been drafted and/or signed by NHL teams consisting of Evan Cormier (New Jersey Devils), Brady Gilmour (Detroit Red Wings) and Keaton Middleton (Toronto Maple Leafs). Caleb Everett, Maxim Grondin and Blade Jenkins were listed among NHL Central Scouting’s November ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming 2018 NHL Draft.

Eight notable NHL players from the Saginaw organization are Paul Bissonnette (Arizona Coyotes), T.J. Brodie (Calgary Flames), Ben Chiarot (Winnipeg Jets), Dalton Prout (New Jersey Devils), Tom Pyatt (Ottawa Senators), Brandon Saad (Chicago Blackhawks), Chris Thorburn (St. Louis Blues) and Vincent Trocheck (Florida Panthers).

 

Broadcast Coverage:
Friday evening’s contest against the Saginaw Spirit 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 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 6:30 p.m.

Friday’s game against the Spirit will also be televised live province-wide throughout Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 466 for both Rogers TV cable subscribers and 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.  Through Saginaw’s partnership, the game will be re-broadcast on CW WBSF Charter channel 17 / 717 (HD) & Comcast channel 15 / 236 (HD) Sunday at 3 p.m. throughout Mid-Michigan. Along with Friday’s game, 64 of the Firebirds’ 68 games throughout the 2017-18 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 2017-18 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 2017-18 season.

 

Next Home Game:
The Firebirds return home to the Dort Federal Event Center this Sunday, Nov. 26. Puck drop is set for 4 p.m. against the Kingston Frontenacs. Sunday is a “Firebirds Family 4 Pack” Game. Sponsored by Dort Federal Credit Union. At every Sunday home game, the four pack features 4 Silver Level reserved tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 sodas, 2 game programs and 2 game pucks, a value of $120 for $76. Also, all Sunday’s are ‘Firebirds KIDS FREE days,’ compliments of Aquafina: All kids 12-under will receive a free game ticket with adult purchase, valid for all price levels. Fans are encouraged to purchase in advance by visiting the Box Office or by contacting Dominic Gutierrez at domg@flintfirebirds.com. Special offers are not combinable with other discounts or offers.

Sunday is also considered a ‘double redemption’ game for all season ticket holders and sponsors: If you’ve missed any games this season, you can redeem your unused season ticket(s) to get 2 tickets for every one season ticket presented at the Dort Federal Event Center box office.

Single game tickets for all Firebirds games are $12 / Bronze, $16 / Silver, $20 / Gold and $26 for VIP seating. All seats are reserved / assigned seating. Fans can purchase tickets at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office and online at ticketmaster.comFor ticket information, flex tickets or group outings, contact Dominic Gutierrez at (810) 701-8536 or domg@flintfirebirds.com. To book a private suite, please contact Karla Turner at (810) 744-0580 ext. 213 or email karla@flintfirebirds.com.

 

Blue Line Club Menu:
Presented by King’s Catering, Sunday afternoon’s dinner menu for the Blue Line Club features  Southern fried chicken, smothered chicken, mashed potatoes and pepper gravy, buttered corn, glazed carrot vichy, buttermilk biscuits and for dessert, apple pie and assorted cookies. Sunday’s menu is available to all Sponsors and VIP, Corporate / Gold season ticket holders for $15 per person. Dinner RSVPs are encouraged by emailing Karla Turner at karla@flintfirebirds.com.

 

Photo Credit: Danen Williams / Flint Firebirds Hockey Club

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