Flint, Mich. – The Firebirds will play their next two games on the road, starting Wednesday against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. at the GFL Memorial Gardens (capacity 4,928) in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
Wednesday marks the second of six meetings between the two clubs this season and the second of three in Sault Ste. Marie. On Oct. 10, the Greyhounds skated to a 4 – 1 victory. Eric Uba netted his first career OHL goal in the contest, launching a three-game scoring streak. Emanuel Vella played stellar in goal, making 37 saves on 40 shots.
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 6-12-1-0 against the Greyhounds and are an even 5-5-0-0 in road games in the series. Seven of the 19 battles with the Greyhounds have been decided by a single goal.
On special teams, the Greyhounds rank 12th in the OHL with the man-advantage, scoring at a 16.1% rate. The Soo ranks second overall on the PK, killing 88.7% of their penalties successfully. Flint has scored three power-play goals this season, converting at 6.5% The Firebirds rank 7th in the league on the penalty kill in away games, finding success 80.9% of the time.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (0-13-1-0, 5th West Division):
Flint captain Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) leads all Firebirds in offensive production with 12 points in 14 games played. His eight assists are also most on the squad. Ethan Keppen and first-year forward Jacob Winterton each have five goals, tying them for first in lighting the lamp. Keppen has three assists, as well, giving him eight total points in 14 games. Winterton has two assists for seven total points, ranking him third overall.
In net, Emanuel Vella holds a 5.37 goals-against average (GAA) and a .855 save percentage (SAV%) in 10 appearances. Luke Cavallin has a 5.90 GAA and a .849 SAV% across nine appearances.
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 leads the ‘Hounds in goals, assists and points. He has averaged almost two points per game through the first 16 contests of the season. His 30 points rank him second in the OHL, and his 18 assists have him tied for second in the league. 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 16 points (5G, 11A) in 16 games. There is a two-way tie for third in total points, with Barrett Hayton (Arizona Coyotes) and Mac Hollowell (Toronto Maple Leafs). Hayton was the Coyotes’ first-round pick, 5th overall, in this year’s NHL Draft. He has six goals and eight assists in just nine games played. Hollowell is the top-scoring rearguard on the team, with four goals and 10 assists in 12 games played.
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 10 appearances this season, he has a 2.74 goals-against-average (GAA) and a save percentage (SAV%) of .916, along with eight wins and one shutout. Newcomer Ethan Taylor has played in four games this season, with a 2.04 GAA and a .931 SAV%. Taylor also has two 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), Mac Hollowell (Toronto Maple Leafs), Jordan Sambrook (Detroit Red Wings) and Matthew Villalta (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.
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.
Next Home Game:
The Flint Firebirds return home to the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center this Saturday, Nov. 3 when the club hosts the Ottawa 67’s. It’s the Firebirds’ inaugural ‘Youth Sports Night’ with puck drop set for 3 p.m. (ET). The Flint Firebirds encourage active youth lifestyles and look forward to showcasing the diversity of youth sports in Genesee County and its surrounding areas. To show support for youth sports, the Firebirds are offering free admission to all athletes K-12 wearing their team jersey with a paid adult ticket (1 free child per adult). Additionally, the first 1,000 fans will receive a free drawstring bag, compliments of PFCU.
The Firebirds would also like to offer sports teams, organizations, or associations the chance to promote their program at a Flint Firebirds home game. The offer includes 15 Silver Level tickets & 1 complimentary concourse table for $150.00 (total value $490). If a concourse table is not needed, the Firebirds are offering a special group rate of $10 Silver Level tickets for groups of 10 or more.
For more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club