Preview: Firebirds Begin Two Game Road Trip in Windsor Sunday Afternoon
|Flint Firebirds (16-34-3-2) at Windsor Spitfires (25-24-3-2)|
|Date | Time||Sunday, Feb. 18 | 2:05 p.m.|
|Location||Windsor, Ont. | WFCU Centre (capacity 6,450)|
|Tickets||Online | (519) 254-5000|
|TV||– Cogeco TV channel 11 / 700 HD Live (Windsor)
– OHL Action Pak: Rogers TV 437 & Cogeco TV 478 Live (Ontario)
|Video Stream||OHL Live|
|Radio||WQUS 103.1 FM (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show: 1:30p|
|Radio (Mobile)||US 103 App: Android | iPhone/iPad|
|Next Home Game||Friday, Feb. 23: (EMS Appreciation Night)|
|Social Media||@FlintFirebirds | Facebook | Instagram|
Windsor, Ont. – After hosting the club’s third-annual “Flint Tropics Night” in front of a near capacity crowd of more than 4,000 fans in Flint Saturday night, the Firebirds travel to Windsor for a West-Division battle with the Spitfires Sunday afternoon. The puck is set to drop at 2:05 p.m. (ET) at the WFCU Centre (capacity 6,450). Flint will then head to Mississauga after Sunday’s game for a Monday contest also at 2 p.m. (ET).
This season, Flint holds a 2-2 record against the Spitfires. Windsor claimed the first victory on Oct. 22 in Flint before the Firebirds posted a 4-3 overtime triumph in Windsor on Dec. 3. That night, rookie netminder Luke Cavallin earned his first-career OHL win, making 30 saves on 33 shots. The Spitfires won a tight-fought defensive third meeting by a final score of 1 – 0, before the Firebirds evened the series on Jan. 28 with a 4 – 2 win on home ice.
Sunday marks the fifth of six games between the two clubs and the final contest in Windsor. In their three seasons with the OHL, the Firebirds have five wins against the Spitfires. Windsor enters this afternoon’s game with two wins in their past 10 games.
All-time, the Firebirds have a 5-10-1-0 record against the Spitfires and are 2-5-1-0 in Windsor.
The Spitfires enter the contest with a season record of 25-24-3-2, sitting fourth in the West Division. Flint stands fifth in the West Division with a 16-34-3-2 record. Flint has a road record of 4-19-2-2 this season and Windsor holds a home record of 11-10-3-2. Last night, the Firebirds made a comeback bid that fell just short. Trailing 3 – 1 in the third period, Flint rallied back to tie the visiting Saginaw Spirit before a late goal and an empty-netter stole the victory in front of over 4,000 fans at the Dort Federal Event Center. The Spitfires had Saturday night off.
On special teams, the Spitfires have the 12th-ranked power play in the league, converting at a rate of 20.1%. On the penalty kill, they rank ninth-best at 79.9%. Flint converts on 18.2% of their chances with the man-advantage, ranking 15th in the OHL. Their penalty kill has found success 75.2% of the time.
Players to Watch
Flint Firebirds (16-34-3-2, 5th West Division):
C.J. Clarke has been the hottest goal-scorer for Flint of late, lighting the lamp in the last five consecutive games. He now has 14 goals and 10 assists for 24 points in 53 games played.
Maurizio Colella continues to lead all Firebirds on the scoresheet, earning 51 points in 54 games. His 32 assists are the most by any Flint player this season. With an assist last night, Colella extended his point streak to seven games, earning 10 points (3G, 7A) in that span. Colella has points in 10 of his last 11 games. Ty Dellandrea ranks second on the ‘Birds roster with 48 points in 54 games. He leads the squad in goals with 22. Connor Roberts ranks third on the team with 15 goals and 14 helpers for 29 points this season.
Riley McCourt carries momentum as well, riding a four-game point streak into Sunday’s tilt. His two assists last night against Saginaw earned him ‘third-star’ honors. For the season, McCourt leads all rookies on the Firebirds’ roster with 20 points in 43 games.
Defensively, Flint is lead by pair of veterans with NHL ties. The Firebirds’ Captain and Detroit, Mich. native Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) leads all defensemen on the squad with 26 points in just 33 games played. He scored his ninth goal of season with another fierce slapshot from the point last night. Smereck is four points away from recording his 100th-career point in the OHL. Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) has 21 points on the season, and leads all OHL players with 96 penalty minutes.
Between-the-pipes, Garrett Forrest has played in three of the last five games, including 39 games this season. He has a 4.56 goals-against average (GAA) and a .869 save percentage (SAV%). Forrest has backstopped Flint to 11 of 16 wins in net. Rookie goaltender Luke Cavallin has appeared in 21 games this season. He has a 3.94 GAA and a .874 SAV%. Two of Cavallin’s five wins this season have been against the Spitfires.
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.
Windsor Spitfires (25-24-3-2, 4th West Division):
The Spitfires are led by Cole Purbo, who has 18 goals and 22 assists for 40 points in 54 games played this season. Curtis Douglas is a close second on the Windsor squad with 17 goals and 21 assists for 38 points. Plymouth, Mich. native Luke Boka is on a two-game point streak and ranks third on the team in scoring. He has 12 goals and 20 assists in 51 games this season.
In net, Michael DiPietro (Vancouver Canucks) ranks fifth in the OHL with a goals-against average of 2.89. He has also has the fifth-best save percentage at .910. DiPietro has backstopped the ‘Spits to 23 of the team’s 25 wins this season. Back-up netminder Brock Baier has appeared in seven games and holds a 5.20 GAA and a .824 SAV%. Lucas Patton has appeared in five games between the pipes with a 3.27 GAA and a .903 SAV%.
NHL: After winning the 2017 CHL Memorial Cup, Windsor now has just one player with NHL ties, goaltender Michael DiPietro (Vancouver Canucks). Forward Igor Larionov hails from Detroit and is the son of the former NHL star and Detroit Red Wing of the same name. Additionally, the Spitfires have two players listed among NHL Central Scouting’s November ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming 2018 NHL Draft: Connor Corcoran and Matthew MacDougall.
19 notable Spitfires’ alumni to play in the NHL are Bryan Bickell, Jack Campbell, Matt Cooke, Peter DeBoer, Steve Downie, Ryan Ellis, Cam Fowler, Adam Graves, Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, Ed Jovanovski, Claude Julien, Michael Leighton, Eddie Mio, Michal Neuvirth, Steve Ott, Richard Panik, Joel Quenneville and Jason Spezza.
Sunday afternoon’s contest against the Windsor Spitfires 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 1:35 p.m.
Sunday’s game against the Spitfires will also be televised live in Windsor on YourTV channel 11 / 700 (HD) for Cogeco TV cable subscribers. Additionally, the game will be televised live province-wide throughout Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 437 for Rogers TV cable subscribers and channel 478 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 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 mid-season pricing is $6.99 per game, $49.99 for Flint Firebirds away games only, $99.99 for all remaining home and away Firebirds games and $149.99 for all OHL games throughout the remainder of the 2017-18 season.
Next Home Game:
The Firebirds return to the friendly confines of the Dort Federal Event Center for back-to-back home games this Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game against the Sarnia Sting is EMS Appreciation Night. Both home games this weekend are the final two of February’s HAP “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.
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.
For more information: