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Preview: Firebirds & Wolves Face-Off in Sudbury Friday

Terry Wilson
Flint Firebirds (16-30-3-2) at Sudbury Wolves (13-32-6-0)
Date | Time Friday, Feb. 9 | 7:05 p.m.
Location Sudbury, Ont. | Sudbury Community Arena (capacity 5,100)
Tickets Online | (705) 671-3000
TV – Eastlink TV ch. 10/610 HD (Sudbury)
– OHL Action Pak: Rogers TV 447 & Cogeco TV 447 Live (Ontario)
Complete Broadcast Coverage
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 Wednesday, Feb. 14 (Carload Night)
Social Media @FlintFirebirds   | Facebook  | Instagram 

Sudbury, Ont. – The Flint Firebirds continue their three-game road trip with a stop in Sudbury, Ontario Friday night. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. (ET) at the Sudbury Community Arena (capacity 5,100).

This will be the second of ‘three games in three nights’ in the northern part of Ontario for the Firebirds, which included a Thursday night shootout defeat against the North Bay Battalion and will wrap-up with a Saturday night tilt against the Barrie Colts.

Friday marks the first of two meetings against the Wolves this season and the only matchup in Sudbury. Last season, Flint won both contests against the Wolves, outscoring them 7 – 3 across both games. The Firebirds also outshot Sudbury by a combined total of 83 – 58 in the two meetings of the 2016-17 season.

All-time, this is the fifth meeting between the Firebirds and Wolves. Flint has never loss in regulation to Sudbury, holding a 3-0-1-0 record in the series so far.

The Wolves are winless in their past five games and are 2-8-0-0 in their past 10. Sudbury is fifth place in the Central Division with a 13-32-6-0 season record and are tenth in the ten-team Eastern Conference.

The Firebirds have made a surge of late, earning points in four of their last five games. For the season, Flint holds a record of 16-30-3-2 and sits fifth in the West Division. They rank tenth in the Western Conference, just two points behind the Erie Otters.

On special teams, the Firebirds have never allowed a power-play goal from the Wolves. The power-play has been very consistent, scoring goals in 14 of their last 17 games, including one goal with the man-advantage in last night’s game in North Bay. Flint is clicking at 17.6% overall, ranking them 16th in the 20-team OHL. On the penalty-kill the Firebirds were successful in their past three games, killing off 11 of 13 chances. They are now 74.9% overall shorthanded, ranking 18th in the league. They’ve killed off all 12 of Sudbury’s man-advantage opportunities across the four games between the two clubs in the Firebirds’ first two seasons as a franchise. For the Wolves, their power-play is ranked 17th with a 16.4% successful rate. Sudbury’s penalty-kill is ranked 20th in the OHL at 74.1%.

Players to Watch

Flint Firebirds (16-30-3-2, 5th West Division):
Maurizio Colella leads the Firebirds with 46 points in 50 games this season. With his assist last night, Colella has now earned five points in the past three games. Ty Dellandrea leads the team with 22 goals on the season. He is second on the Firebirds’ roster with 45 points in 50 games. Dellandrea is riding a six-game point-streak (5G, 5A) and has recorded multi-point nights in six of his last nine games. Connor Roberts ranks third with 26 points (14G, 12A) in 49 games.

Firebirds’ captain Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) leads all defenseman with 23 points (8G, 15A) in 29 games. Smereck is on a five-game point-streak, including two goals and an assist for a three-point game last night in North Bay. Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) is second among Firebirds’ defense with 19 points this season. Gordeev leads the team in PIM’s with 84. Riley McCourt leads all rookies with 15 points. Ethan Keppen leads all rookies with seven goals this season.

In net, Garrett Forrest has registered 11 wins for the Firebirds this season. He is the Firebirds all-time leader in wins with 24 and the team’s all-time saves leader. Forrest has a 4.51 goals-against average (GAA) and a .869 save percentage (SAV%). He picked up his fifth-career OHL win last weekend, beating the OHL’s second-best team statistically, the Sarnia Sting. In 19 games, Cavallin has 3.82 goals-against average (GAA) and a .877 save percentage (SAV%).

NHL: The Firebirds have two players with NHL ties consisting of Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) and Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs). Additionally, Dennis Busby, Ty Dellandrea, Hunter Holmes, Ryan Littlejohn, Riley McCourt, Connor Roberts and Jack Wismer are seven first-time eligible players to be selected in the NHL Entry Draft in June 2018.

Sudbury Wolves (13-32-6-0, 5th Central Division):
The Wolves are led by Alexey Lipanov (Tampa Bay Lightning) with 13 goals and 21 helpers for 34 points in 46 games played. Defenseman Cole Candella (Vancouver Canucks) is tied for second on the squad with 28 points in 51 games. His 24 assists leads all Sudbury players. Rookie Blake Murray also has 28 points in 40 games and leads the Wolves in goals with 14.

An interesting fact worth noting is that twin brothers from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario play together for Sudbury. Drake Pilon is a 5-foot-10, 178-pound right-handed winger who has collected 20 points in 48 games this season. His brother Darian is a 5-foot-10, 177-pound left-handed winger with 27 points in 46 games this season. The Pilon twins were both drafted by Sudbury in 2016.

In net, Jake McGrath has appeared in 36 games this season. He has posted a 3.97 goals-against average and a save percentage of .886 with nine wins. Rookie goaltender Marshall Frapier has two wins in 13 appearances. His GAA is 4.91 and his SAV% is .875 this season.

NHL: Sudbury has two players with NHL ties. Forward Alexey Lipanov was a third-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in last year’s draft. Defenseman Cole Candella was a fifth-round pick by the Vancouver Canucks in 2016. Additionally, forwards Kirill Nizhnikov and David Levin are listed in the 2018 NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings for the upcoming 2018 NHL Draft in June.

In the past 25 years, the Sudbury Wolves have produced 20 professional players that have played at least 200 NHL games. In the 60-team CHL, no team has produced more long-term NHLers in that time frame. Most notable among the Wolves’ alumni are Sean O’Donnell, who logged 1,224 games in the NHL, Glen Murray, Mike Fisher, Taylor Pyatt, Nick Foligno, Mark Staal, and Mike Smith.

 

Broadcast Coverage:
Friday evening’s contest against the Sudbury Wolves 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.

The game will also be televised live in Sudbury on Eastlink TV channel 10/610 (HD) for Eastlink TV cable subscribers. In addition, the game will be televised province-wide throughout Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 447 for both Rogers TV and 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 Friday’s game, 65 of the Firebirds’ 68 games throughout the 2017-18 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 2017-18 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 2017-18 season.

 

Next Home Game:
Spend your Valentine’s Day with the Firebirds this Wednesday, Feb. 14 for ‘Carload Night.’ Sponsored by Black Rock Bar & Grill in Davison, ‘Carload Night’ allows fans to load up friends, co-workers and family members in one vehicle for a flat rate of $35. Cars, mini-vans, RVs, campers and buses are welcome! One price of $35, plus parking, for all vehicles translates into reserved silver level admission for all guests in the vehicle.  The Firebirds remind all fans to be safe and responsible and make sure that everyone is buckled up inside the vehicle. Wednesday is also the Firebirds’ “Boots for Kids” donation drive. Fans who donate a new pair of boots to the Firebirds’ Merchandise Store will receive a complimentary sponsored silver level ticket. Additionally, it’s “College Night,” featuring $2 beers and hot dogs for all fans in attendance. All college students with valid identification will also receive $2 off admission.

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: Terry Wilson / OHL Images

 

For more information:

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

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