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Preview: Firebirds & Greyhounds Battle in Sault Ste. Marie Wednesday

Kevin Jordan
Flint Firebirds at Soo Greyhounds
Date | Time  Wednesday, Oct. 10 | 7:07 p.m.
Location  Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. | GFL Memorial Gardens (capacity 4,928)
Tickets  Online | (866) 775-9422
TV  None (1-of-3 games in 68-game schedule without TV)
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
Next Home Game  Friday, Oct. 12 vs. North Bay (Promotions)
Social Media  @FlintFirebirds   | Facebook | Instagram

Sault Ste. Marie – The Flint Firebirds traveled to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Tuesday for a Wednesday night battle against the Greyhounds. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. (ET) at the GFL Memorial Gardens (capacity 4,928).

Wednesday marks the first of six meetings between the two clubs and the first of three in Sault Ste. Marie this season. Last year, the Greyhounds spent the majority of the season as the number-one ranked team in the 20-team OHL, finishing atop the standings at the conclusion of the 68-game regular season. Flint was one of only two teams (Sarnia) to beat the Greyhounds twice in the campaign and one of only three teams to post a regular-season victory at the GFL Memorial Gardens. All-time, the Firebirds are 6-11-1-0 against the Greyhounds and are 5-4-0-0 in road games in the series. Seven of the 18 battles with the Greyhounds have been decided by a single goal.

Most recently, both teams fell by a final score of 6-2. Flint dropped a contest on home ice to the Guelph Storm, despite offensive production from Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) and newcomer Jacob Winterton. The Greyhounds fell on the road in Ottawa to the 67’s, with goals from Morgan Frost (Philadelphia Flyers) and Roman Pucek.

On June 22, Sault Ste. Marie’s Barrett Hayton was selected by the Arizona Coyotes in the first-round (5th overall) of the 2018 NHL Draft. Arizona signed Hayton on July 6 before he played in two NHL pre-season games with Coyotes. Hayton was reassigned to Sault Ste. Marie by Arizona Tuesday and is expected to play his first OHL game this season against Flint Wednesday night.

On special teams, the Greyhounds rank 14th in the OHL with the man-advantage, scoring three goals in 30 opportunities for a 10% success rate. The Soo ranks fourth overall on the PK, and is one of two teams yet to allow a goal on home ice when shorthanded. Flint has yet to convert on a power-play opportunity. Flint ranks 12th in the league on the penalty kill in away games, finding success 80% of the time.

 

Players to Watch:

Flint Firebirds (0-6-0-0, 5th West Division):
Jacob Winterton leads all Flint Firebirds in points in his first season in the OHL. Winterton has four points (3G, 1A) in six games and is currently in the midst of a four-game point-streak. Jake Durham, Kyle Harris and Ethan Keppen are tied for second the Firebirds’ roster with three points, all in six games. Keppen leads the Firebirds in goals with three and Harris leads the Firebirds in assists, also with three.

In net, Emanuel Vella holds a 6.45 goals-against average (GAA) and a .824 save percentage (SAV%) in five appearances. Luke Cavallin has a 5.46 GAA and a .848 SAV% across four appearances, including stopping all 20 shots faced through two periods in Flint’s home-opener this season.

NHL: The Firebirds have three players with NHL ties consisting of Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes), Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) and Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs). Additionally, five other Firebirds’ players attended NHL Camps this past off-season: Hunter Holmes (Philadelphia Flyers), Riley McCourt (Dallas Stars), Hakon Nilsen (New York Islanders), Connor Roberts (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Emanuel Vella (New York Islanders). In addition, netminder Luke Cavallin and forward Ethan Keppen were named to NHL Central Scouting’s North American ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft, released Oct 1.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (3-3-1-0, 2nd West Division):
Philadelphia Flyers’ prospect Morgan Frost has emerged as the early goals, assists and points leader for the Greyhounds. He has picked up nine points (4G, 5A) in the first seven games of the season. Last year, Frost finished the regular season tied for the most assists in the league (70) and second-most points (112). Cole MacKay, a second-year forward from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. ranks second on the squad with six points (2G, 4A) in seven contests. In third place is Jordan Sambrook, a 6-foot-3 right-handed defender drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL Draft. Sambrook has two goals and three assists for five total points in six games played.

Rory Kerins, a native of Caledon, Ont., leads all first-year players for Sault Ste. Marie with four points (1G, 3A) in seven games. The left-handed centerman was the Greyhounds’ fourth-round pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection.

Between-the-Pipes, goaltender Matthew Villalta (Los Angeles Kings) looks to carry a heavy workload again this season. Last season, Villalta boasted the most wins, with 40 in just 49 games played. He also held the league’s lowest goals-against average (2.58) and the third-most shutouts, with three. In five appearances this season, he has a 3.01 goals-against-average (GAA) and a save percentage (SAV%) of .918, along with two wins and one shutout. Newcomer Ethan Taylor has played in two games this season, with a 0.74 GAA and a .981 SAV%. Tyler Johnson, an Amherst, NY native, was originally drafted by the Plymouth Whalers in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection, one year before the Plymouth franchise relocated to Flint. He has appeared in one game this season, posting a 4.00 GAA and a SAV% of 0.905.

NHL: The Greyhounds have five players with NHL ties on their roster consisting of Morgan Frost (Philadelphia Flyers), Barrett Hayton (Arizona Coyotes), Mac Hollowell (Toronto Maple Leafs), Jordan Sambrook (Detroit Red Wings) and Matthew Vilalta (Los Angeles Kings). Joseph Carroll and Jacob Leguerrier were named to NHL Central Scouting’s North American ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft, released Oct 1.

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.

 

Broadcast Coverage:
Wednesday evening’s contest against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 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.

Wednesday’s game is one of only three games on the 68-game schedule that will not have live television coverage.

However, 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.

 

Upcoming Home Game:
The Firebirds host the North Bay Battalion for ‘810 Night’ Friday. To celebrate the Greater Flint Area, the Firebirds are offering the lowest individual ticket prices in franchise history, featuring $8 bronze level tickets and $10 silver level tickets. Also, the first 810 fans in attendance will receive a free Firebirds’ ’810’ shirt, compliments of PFCU. Additionally, there will be $8 glassware and a 10% discount in the Firebirds’ merchandise store, The Birds Nest.

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: Kevin Jordan / OHL Arena Guide

 

For more information:

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

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