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Preview: Firebirds Begin 2018 Schedule in Sarnia Friday

Flint Firebirds (11-22-3-0) at Sarnia Sting (25-12-2-0)
Date | Time Friday, Jan. 5 | 6:00 p.m.
Location Sarnia, Ont. | Progressive Auto Sales Arena (capacity 5,500)
Tickets Online | (519) 541-1717 ext. 1
TV – Cogeco TV channel 6 / 700 HD Live (Sarnia)
– OHL Action Pak: Rogers TV ch. 460 & Cogeco TV ch. 491 Live (Ontario)
Video Stream OHL Live
Radio WQUS 103.1 FM (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show: 5:30p
Radio (Mobile) US 103 App: Android | iPhone/iPad
Live Stats Here
Next Home Game Saturday, Jan. 6: Firebirds’ Fight Hunger
Social Media @FlintFirebirds   | Facebook | Instagram

Sarnia, Ont. – The Flint Firebirds will open the 2018 portion of their schedule against the Sarnia Sting, the 60-team CHL’s ninth-ranked club, Friday night at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m. (ET).

The Firebirds had an impressive weekend to finish off the 2017 calendar year beating the London Knights in front of a sold out home crowd of 4,400 fans at the Dort Federal Event Center last Thursday and came within a goal of snapping the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds’ 21-game winning-streak on the road the following evening.

Friday marks the fourth of eight games between the two clubs this season, and the third of four in Sarnia. Flint holds a 2-1 record against Sarnia this campaign. After the Sting won the first contest in the series, the Firebirds earned the victory on home-ice Nov. 15 by a final score of 5-3. Nicholas Mattinen and Ty Dellandrea each recorded three points in front of the local youth in the inaugural “School Day Game.” Then, most recently, Flint won 5-2 in Sarnia on Dec. 16. Ty Dellandrea recorded a five-point night, including his first ever hat trick. Last season, Flint notched a 6-2-0-0 record against the Sting. All-time, the Firebirds are 12-7 against Sarnia.

The Sting have been ranked in the top ten CHL rankings since the start of the season thanks to a team record 14-game winning-streak. Flint has played good consistent hockey throughout the month of December and hopes to continue in the second half of the season.

The Firebirds’ four wins in the month of December have been impressive as they have beaten some of the top teams. On Dec. 1, a 4-3 victory at home over the Eastern Conference’s top team the Hamilton Bulldogs, on Dec. 3rd the Firebirds went into the WFCU Center and defeated the defending Memorial Cup Champions Windsor Spitfires 4-3. On the 16th of Dec. they knocked off the Sarnia Sting 5-2 on the road and came back from the Christmas break with a 3-2 win over the London Knights at home. Over the last eleven games Flint has played at a near .500 pace with a record of 4-6-1-0.

On special teams, the Firebirds have been scoring at a 15.3% clip on the power-play overall. The Firebirds have scored at least one power-play goal in each of the last three games. Flint’s penalty-kill overall comes into the game at 72.9%. The Sting hold the OHL’s best penalty-kill unit at 89.2%. They are even more successful on home ice, killing 94.2% of the oppositions’ power plays. They are rated fifth in the league with the man-advantage with a 23.8% success-rate.

Players to Watch

Flint Firebirds (11-22-3-0, 5th West Division):
Forward CJ Clarke is currently on a four-game point-streak, recording 5 points (2G, 3A) in that time. Defenseman Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) is coming off his best weekend since rejoining the Firebirds. The Detroit, Mich. native is currently riding a three-game point-streak with two goals and five points. Smereck scored multiple points in two of the three games last week.

Ty Dellandrea (13G, 14A) and Maurizio Colella (12G, 15A) are tied for the team lead in points with 27. Dellandrea leads the club with 13 goals. Connor Roberts has four goals and eight points since being acquired from the Hamilton Bulldogs. In his last four games Connor has been hot with a pair of goals and four points. In just 12 games with the Firebirds, Roberts’ 8 points matches his 8 points acquired in 22 games with Hamilton this season. Nicolas Mattinen (Toronto Maple Leafs) leads all defensemen on the Firebirds in scoring (5G, 17A) with 22 points.

Between-the-pipes, Luke Cavallin started in two of the last three games and has appeared in 12 games for the Firebirds. Cavallin, who was the highest selected goaltender in the 2017 OHL Priority Draft, back-stopped the Firebirds to a victory over the London Knights last weekend for his second-career OHL win. He sports a 4.58 goals against average (GAA) and a .857 save percentage (SAV%). Garrett Forrest continues to lead the team in games played with 28 and wins with 9. Forrest carries a 4.64 goals against average (GAA) and a .864 save percentage (SAV%).

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

Sarnia Sting (25-11-2-0, 2nd West Division):
The Sting will play without their scoring leader Jordan Kyrou, who is representing Team Canada at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship Gold Medal game Friday night. He leads the entire league in assists with 39, and ranks third in points with 58 earned in 30 games . Kyrou, a second-round selection of the St. Louis Blues in the 2016 NHL Draft, has tallied two goals and five assists for seven points in five games in this year’s World Juniors tournament.

Huntington Woods, Mich. native Drake Rymsha sits second in points for Sarnia, with 19 goals and 28 assists for 47 points in 39 games. Rymsha enters the contest on a three-game point-streak, during which time he recorded two goals and an assists. The Los Angeles Kings’ draft pick has recorded 14 multi-point games this season. Adam Ruzicka (Calgary Flames), who represented Slovakia in the World Juniors, has registered 40 points (20G, 20A) in 35 games played. His 10 power-play goals are good for third-most in the OHL. Jordan Ernst enters the contest with 36 points (19G, 17A) in 39 games played.

In net, Justin Fazio is third-best in save percentage at .919%. He’s also ranked second in wins with 21 in 31 games played. He enters Saturday’s game with a 2.88 GAA and one shutout. Back-up goaltender Aidan Hughes has posted a 3.51 GAA and a .896 SAV%. He has earned four wins in nine appearances this season.

NHL: Sarnia has five players with NHL ties that include Jordan Kyrou (St. Louis Blues), Ryan McGregor (Toronto Maple Leafs), Adam Ruzicka (Calgary Flames), Drake Rymsha (Los Angeles Kings) and Anthony Salinitri (Philadelphia Flyers).

13 notable Sting’s alumni to play in the NHL are Reid Boucher, Eric Boulton, Daniel Carcillo, Jakob Chychrun, Alex Galchenyuk, Matt Martin, Connor Murphy, Dalton Prout, Brett Ritchie, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Spooner, Nail Yakupov and Pavel Zacha.

 

Broadcast Coverage:
Friday evening’s contest against the Sarnia Sting 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 5:30 p.m.

The game will also be televised live in Sarnia on YourTV channel 6 / 700 (HD) for Cogeco cable TV subscribers. In addition, the game will be televised province-wide throughout Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 460 for Rogers TV cable subscribers and channel 491 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 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 Flint Firebirds return home to the Dort Federal Event Center this Saturday, Jan. 6 to start off the Firebirds’ Fight Hunger month. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (ET) vs. the Erie Otters. In partnership with the Foodbank of Eastern Michigan, fans can bring in five non-perishable food items to any Firebirds’ home game in the month of January to receive a complimentary sponsored silver level ticket, limit of four tickets per person.

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

For ticket information, flex tickets or group outings, contact Dominic Gutierrez at (810) 701-8536 or email domg@flintfirebirds.com. To book a private suite, please contact Karla Turner at (810) 744-0580 ext. 213 or email karla@flintfirebirds.com.

 

For more information:

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

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