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Preview: Firebirds close out 2018-19 season in Sarnia Sunday

Metcalfe Photography
Flint Firebirds at Sarnia Sting
Date | Time Sunday, Mar. 17 | 2:05 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 440 & Cogeco TV 481 Live (Ontario)
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
Social Media @FlintFirebirds   | Facebook | Instagram

Sarnia, Ont. – The Firebirds will conclude their fourth season in the OHL, playing their final game of the 2018-19 campaign Sunday afternoon against the Sting in Sarnia. Puck drop is set for 2:05 p.m. (EDT) at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena (capacity 5,500).

These two clubs met Saturday night in Flint, where the Firebirds skated to a decisive 8 – 4 victory in front of a sold-out Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center crowd of more than 4,200 fans. With the victory, Flint is now 5-1-1-0 in their past seven games, earning 11 of a possible 14 points in that stretch. Luke Cavallin backstopped the Firebirds, making 28 saves on 32 shots for his eighth victory in net. Evan Vierling had three assists, Ethan Keppen and Hunter Holmes each scored twice and Kyle Harris, Cody Morgan, Hakon Nilsen and Emmet Pierce lit-the-lamp to lead Flint’s offense.

Saturday night’s tilt marks the eighth and final meeting between these clubs this season and the final of four in Sarnia. All-time, Flint is 16-14-1-0 against Sarnia and is 6-9-0-0 in away games in the series. This year, the Firebirds are 3-3-1-0 against the Sting.

Sarnia enters the contest with a record of 27-33-5-2 for 61 points in 67 games. They are in third place in the West Division and seventh place in the 10-team Western Conference. Regardless of Sunday’s outcome, the Sting will face the Saginaw Spirit in the first round of the OHL playoffs.

Sarnia is 4-6-0-0 in their last 10 games, compared to Flint’s record of 6-2-2-0 in the last 10. The Firebirds have a season-record of 16-45-6-0 and rank fifth in the West Division and 10th in the Western Conference.

On special teams, Sarnia has the 13th-best power play, converting on 20.3% of their chances. Flint is operating at 15.7% while on the man-advantage, which ranks 18th in the OHL. While shorthanded, Sarnia has the ninth-best penalty kill, successfully killing 77.8% of their penalties. The Firebirds are killing penalties at a 70.4% clip.

 

Players to Watch

Flint Firebirds (16-45-6-0, 5th West Division):
Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) averages more than a point-per-game this season. He has 62 points (21G, 41A) in 59 games. Ethan Keppen has been the top performer of the second half of the season, and now ranks second in offensive production with 58 points (30G, 28A) in 67 games-played. Since December 29, Keppen has 21 goals and 14 helpers for 35 points in 31 contests. Jake Durham leads the team in goals-scored (35), and has a career-high 57 points through 67 games.

Since joining Flint mid-season, Cody Morgan has been on a near point-per-game pace, now with 28 total points (11G, 17A) in 29 games with the Firebirds. He rides a three-game point streak (3G, 1A) into the season’s final match. Jack Wismer has 27 points (9G, 18A) in 29 games since establishing the forward line with Morgan and Keppen.

Evan Vierling is in the midst of a five-game point streak (1G, 8A) and ranks 14th among all first-year players in the OHL with 27 total points (6G, 21A). Freshman defenseman and NHL Draft hopeful Vladislav Kolyachonok has 30 points (4G, 26A) in 53 games with Flint. Among all first-year rearguards in the OHL, Kolyachonok has the second-most points. Riley McCourt leads the defensemen with six goals-scored, and 32 total points in 47 games. McCourt will not play Sunday due to an upper-body injury.

In net, Luke Cavallin has won his last four consecutive starts. He carries a 5.23 GAA and a .864 SAV% across 36 appearances. Cavallin has eight wins for the Firebirds in the campaign. Overager Emanuel Vella holds a 4.72 goals-against average (GAA) and a .880 save percentage (SAV%) in 41 appearances. Vella backstopped Flint to the win in the shootout Thursday night in Windsor.

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. Cavallin, Keppen, Kolyachonok and Uba were among the 50 OHL Players in NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings ‘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), Vili Saarijarvi (Detroit Red Wings) and Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) have played in NHL pre-season contests.

Sarnia Sting (27-33-5-2, 3rd West Division):
Hugo Leufvenius leads Sarnia in goals-scored and points through 65 games. He has a team-high 36 goals and 42 assists for 78 total points. Ryan McGregor (Toronto Maple Leafs) sits second in total points (76) and leads his team with 51 assists in 60 games-played. Franco Sproviero ranks third with 22 goals and 37 assists in 63 contests.

First-year forward Jacob Perrault tops the newcomers on the Sting with 54 points (29G, 25A) in 62 games-played. The defensive unit is led by Mitch Eliot (Vancouver Canucks), who hails from Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Eliot has 17 goals and 37 assists through 65 games played, which ranks him 10th among all OHL defensemen in total points.

In net, freshman goaltender Ethan Langevin has each made 42 appearances and earned 16 wins. He carries a 3.78 goals-against average (GAA) and a .878 save percentage (SAV%). Former Saginaw netminder Cameron Lamour has a 4.81 GAA and a SAV% of .850 in 30 total appearances. Lamour has six victories in the campaign.

NHL: The Sting have two players with NHL ties, including Ryan McGregor (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Mitch Eliot (Vancouver Canucks). Forward Hugo Leufvenius was among the 50 OHL Players in NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft.

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:
Sunday afternoon’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 and Gary Patterson will provide color commentary on the Firebirds Hockey Radio Network. Pregame coverage will begin 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 1:30 p.m.

The game will be televised live in Sarnia on YourTV channel 6 / 700 (HD) for Cogeco TV cable subscribers. Additionally, the game will be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 440 for Rogers TV cable subscribers and channel 481 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.

 

Early bird ticket packages for the Flint Firebirds’ 2019-20 OHL season are on sale now. A $50 deposit reserves your seat for next season! The special early bird price deadline is Tuesday, April 30th and fans can secure their seats for next season at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday. For additional pricing and ticket information, fans can call the box office at (810) 744-0580 or email mary@dorteventcenter.com.

Photo Credit: Metcalfe Photography

 

For more information:

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

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