Firebirds Rally to Tie in Second Period, Greyhounds Find Victory Wednesday
Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds skated to a 7-2 victory over the Flint Firebirds Wednesday night. The league’s fourth-best power play proved to be the major difference, scoring three goals on the man-advantage and adding a short-handed tally. For Flint, Jake Durham continued his point production, scoring his team-leading 19th of the season and extending his current point streak to four games. Newcomer Evan Vierling picked up his fourth point in the past two games, setting up Durham’s tally in the middle frame. Eric Uba found the back of the net and Emanuel Vella started his third-straight game in goal, making 37 saves on 44 shots.
Next up for Flint, the Firebirds will continue their six-game road-swing Friday night in Erie, Penn. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (ET) at the Erie Insurance Arena. Friday evening’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 6:30 p.m. The game will also be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 448 for both Rogers TV and Cogeco TV cable subscribers.
The Greyhounds scored two unanswered goals in the first period, both coming on with the man-advantage. First, Ryan Roth scored his eighth of the season on a hard wrister from the top of the left-wing circle at 14:51. The puck slipped under Flint netminder Emanuel Vella’s left pad. Jordan Sambrook and Ryan O’Rourke picked up the helpers. Second, Morgan Frost (Philadelphia Flyers) made a move and a toe-drag around a defender to get a close-range shot through traffic that snuck in glove-side at 16:58. For Frost, it was his 20th goal and league-leading 57th point of the season, assisted by Keeghan Howdeshell and Cole MacKay. First-period shots were tilted in the home team’s favor 18-4.
In the second period, the Firebirds rallied from behind and tied the game with two tallies less than two minutes apart. Jake Durham scored his team-leading 19th of the season at 5:18. He picked up his own rebound and lifted a snap-shot top shelf, past Matthew Villalta (Los Angeles Kings). First-year players Evan Vierling and Michael Bianconi earned the assists on the play. At 7:12 Eric Uba found himself on the receiving end of a fortuitous bounce. Ethan Keppen sent the puck to the slot from the side of the cage. The attempted pass deflected off Uba’s skate and back into the goal. It counted as Uba’s 12th of the season, with Keppen and Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) picking up the helpers.
The ‘Hounds responded with a pair of goals to reestablish the two-goal lead before the end of the middle frame. Jordan Sambrook scored his ninth shorthanded at 8:15, assisted by the Brighton, Mich. native Howdeshell. At 14:02 it was Mac Hollowell (Toronto Maple Leafs) logging his 10th marker of the campaign, with Frost and Roth assisting. Second-period shots were much closer than the first, favoring Sault Ste. Marie 12-10 for a two-period total of 31-15.
The Soo extended their lead to three at 5:07 of the third period with their third power-play goal of the game. Roth picked up his second goal and third point of the night, assisted by Sambrook and first-year forward Tye Kartye. The Greyhounds scored on a four-on-one rush into the Flint zone at 16:14. Jacob LeGuerrier scored his first career OHL goal in his third season on the ‘Hounds defense. Howdeshell and Roth were credited with the assists. Then, at 17:48 of the final frame, Roth completed his hat trick, picking up his third of the night and 10th of the season. O’Rourke had the lone helper.
Final shots-on-goal added up to 44 for the home team and 21 for the Firebirds. In the face-off circle, Flint held the edge, 35-34.
Photo Credit: Todd Boone / Flint Firebirds
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