Flint, Mich – After winning three of their last six games, the Firebirds are set to host the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for a Family “FUN”day matinee contest Sunday. Puck drop is set for 2 p.m. (ET) at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center in Flint.
Sunday marks the sixth and final meeting between the two clubs this season. So far, Flint holds a 1-4-0-0 record, with their lone win coming on home ice Nov 9. Last season, the Firebirds went 2-4-0-0 against the Greyhounds, who spent most of the season at the top of the league’s rankings. All-time, Flint holds a 7-15-1-0 record in the series and a 2-8-1-0 record on home ice.
The Greyhounds enter the contest winners in four of their past five games. Most recently, Sault Ste. Marie skated to a 5-4 overtime decision over the Knights in London on Friday. The Greyhounds travelled to Flint Saturday. The Firebirds have now won three of their past six contests, posting victories over Windsor, Kingston and Sudbury. Last night, five different Firebirds scored and goaltender Luke Cavallin backstopped Flint to a 5 – 1 victory on home ice. Jack Wismer scored the game-winning goal and added an assist, earning him Saturday’s ‘Third Star’ of the entire OHL.
On special teams, Sault Ste. Marie converts on 20.3% of their power-play chances in away games. In the 20-team OHL, they rank 12th in the category. The Firebirds have scored 15.5% of the time with the man-advantage at home this season, which is 17th-best in the league. The Greyhounds rank sixth in road penalty-kill rate, shutting down the opposition on 80.9% of their chances. The Firebirds have been killing penalties at a 64.3% clip in home games.
Sunday’s game is another Firebirds’ Family “FUN”day. The Sunday “FUN”day games feature up to two free kids’ tickets with the purchase of an adult ticket, as well as a post-game ‘skate with Firebirds players,’ bounce houses and inflatables on the concourse sponsored by Valley Tent Rental and an autograph signing session with Firebirds’ players following the game.
Also Sunday, 4-H will be in attendance and fans will have the opportunity to take part in various interactive activities on the concourse during the game. 4-H will have 4-H dogs and rabbits on hand that are able to be petted. Additionally, there will be a craft station featuring a dog toy making activity, SAFE archery and prizes and giveaways part of each activity. 4-H is a global network of youth organizations whose mission is “engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development.”
Lastly, Sunday continues the “Firebirds’ Fight Hunger” campaign where 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 Saturday’s game, and 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.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (6-32-2-0, 5th West Division):
Flint’s Port Perry, Ont. connection continues to lead the way for the Firebirds. Assistant captain Jake Durham scored his team-leading 24th goal last night and added a helper for his 11th multi-point contest of the season. He continues to pace the team in total points with 39 points in 40 games-played. Captain Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) leads the Firebirds with 20 assists, and now has 33 points (13G, 20A) in 34 games. Ethan Keppan has goals in two straight games and three of the past four. He now has 12 goals and 15 assists in 40 contests.
Defenseman Vladislav Kolyachonok now leads both the rearguards and the newcomers on the squad in point production. Since being acquired, his playmaking ability has led to 16 assists in just 28 games with Flint. Jacob Winterton stands one point behind Kolychonok among first-year players with 15 points (7G, 8A) through 40 contests. Freshly signed 16-year-old blue-liner Tyler Deline made his debut in the OHL last night and picked up his first assist for his first point in the league.
Luke Cavallin made 22 saves on 23 shots in net Saturday, earning his third win between the pipes. For the season, he holds a 5.23 goals-against average (GAA) and a save percentage (SAV%) of .858. Overage netminder Emanuel Vella holds a 5.15 goals-against average (GAA) and a save percentage (SAV%) of .868 across 25 appearances. Vella has earned two victories in the campaign.
NHL: The Firebirds have two players with NHL ties consisting of Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes) and Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars). In addition, seven Flint Firebirds are first-time eligible skaters for the upcoming NHL Draft in June: Luke Cavallin, Kyle Harris, Ethan Keppen, Vladislav Kolyachonok, Cody Morgan, Eric Uba and Jacob Winterton. Cavallin, Keppen and Kolyachonok were named to November’s NHL Central Scouting’s North American ‘Players to Watch’ list.
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (24-9-4-1, 1st West Division):
Philadelphia Flyers’ 2017 first-round draft pick Morgan Frost leads the Greyhounds in points with 58 in 32 games this season. His 38 assists rank him second in the OHL. Brighton, Mich. native Keeghan Howdeshell is in the midst of a 17-game point-streak (16G, 13A). He now sits second on the Greyhounds with 46 points (29G, 17A) in 38 games. His four shorthanded goals have him tied for third-most, and he sits alone in the league’s top spot with eight game-winners. Mac Hollowell (Toronto Maple Leafs) tops the defenseman and is also third overall on the squad with 42 points (12G, 30A) in just 34 contests.
Forwards Rory Kerins and Ryan O’Rourke share the lead amongst all first-year players for the Greyhounds, each with four tallies and nine helpers in the campaign.
Between-the-pipes, goaltender Matthew Villalta (Los Angeles Kings) has backstopped the Greyhounds to 17 wins, including one shutout. With 25 appearances this season, he has a goals-against-average (GAA) of 3.03 and a save percentage (SAV%) of .901. Newcomer Ethan Taylor has played in 12 games this season, with a 2.88 GAA and a .899 SAV%. Taylor also has six wins in net.
NHL: The Greyhounds have five players with NHL ties on their roster consisting of Morgan Frost (Philadelphia Flyers), Barrett Hayton (Arizona Coyotes), Jordan Sambrook (Detroit Red Wings), Mac Hollowell (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Matthew Villalta (Los Angeles Kings). In addition, Joseph Carroll, Jacob Leguerrier, Cole Mackay, and Cullen McLean were named to NHL Central Scouting’s North American ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft, released in November.
25 notable Greyhounds’ alumni to play in the NHL are Wayne Gretzky, Jeff Beukeboom, Bob Boughner, Jeff Carter, Dan Clouthier, Paul Coffey, Trevor Daley, Ray Emery, Adam Foote, Ron Francis, Craig Hartsburg, Ric Jackman, Dustin Jeffrey, Tyler Kennedy, Denny Lambert, Greg Millen, Ted Nolan, Nathan Perrott, Bob Probert, Wayne Simmons, Brad Staubitz, Steve Sullivan, Joe Thornton, Rick Tocchet, John Vanbiesbrouk, and Josef Vasick.
Sunday afternoon’s contest 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 with pre-game coverage beginning begin 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 1:30 p.m.
The game will also be televised live across the province of 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.
Blue Line Club Menu:
Sunday afternoon’s menu features chili, chicken stew, garden salad and dinner rolls. The menu is available to all sponsors and season ticket holders for $12 per person. Dinner RSVP’s are encouraged by emailing Karla Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next Home Game:
The Firebirds return to the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center to host the Hamilton Bulldogs next Friday, Jan 11 at 7:00 p.m. (ET). Grab your friends or the family and join us for another ‘Firebirds 4 Pack Friday!’ Fans can get 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 soft drinks starting at just $60. Firebirds 4 Pack packages are only available for Friday games in advance of game day. For more information, contact the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office by calling (810) 744-0580 or email email@example.com.
Friday will also continue 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 Saturday’s game, and 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.
Photo Credit: Todd Boone / Flint Firebirds
For more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club